Solar Power Statistics for Europe 2019

Solar Energy Market in Europe

The solar PV market in Europe saw a 36% growth to reach 11 GW in 2018. 

European countries together have emerged as one of the new and prominent solar growth markets in the world. 

The binding national target that the European Union (EU) has set drove the continent to add 11.3 GW in 2018, which was a 21% increase over the 9.3 GW installed in 2017. 

In 2019, the forecast for demand surge will be by more than 80% (20.4 GW). 

Subsequently, in 2020, the growth is likely to be 18% (24.1 GW), which will be a new record in solar PV installation, surpassing 22.5 GW added in 2011. 

The anticipated growth rate for 2020 will be 36% year-on-year spike of more than 5.9 GW connected to the grid in 2017.

       Fig.1: Solar Energy Market in Europe 2018 (Source: solarpowereurope.org)

In 2018, the biggest solar market in Europe was Germany with 2.96 GW of new grid-connected capacity, which was 68% from 1.76 GW capacity installed in 2017. 

The second-biggest solar energy market is Turkey, which was leading in the European solar market in 2017. Last year (2018), the country installed 1.64 GW, down by 37%, after a drop in demand due to the recession in the country. 

The Netherlands has been a rising star in the European market and ranked as the 3rd largest solar market in 2018. The country added nearly 1.4 GW, a significant increase from the 0.77 GW it added in 2017. 

The combined solar installation by Turkey and Russia reached 11 GW, up 20% from the 9.2 GW added capacity in 2017. 

At the end of 2018, a demand-pull from China resulted in a shortage of supply for high-quality panels in Europe. The situation forced many developers to delay their projects and rolled into 2019. However, 2019, is expected to be even better for the EU solar energy market.

Leading European States in Solar Energy in 2019

In 2018, there was a demand spike for solar energy in the European Union, and it rose by 37% or 8.2 GW, an increase from 6.0 GW capacity installed in 2017.

Even though 36% growth rate of the EU solar market in 2018 was impressive, the number could have been better. It was below par due to the market decline and financial crisis in Turkey.

   Fig.2: European Annual Solar PV Installed Capacity 2000-2018 (Source: (Source: solarpowereurope.org)

Here are the leading European solar markets

  • Germany:

Germany was the leading solar PV market in Europe in 2018. The country restored its top position four years after losing it to the United Kingdom in 2014.

The country added 2.95 GW of solar capacity, and the market grew 67% year-on-year compared to 1.76 GW added in 2017. It was the first time since 2013 that Germany hit 2.5 GW capacity.

The major driving factor for the German solar market in 2018 were self-consumption or feed-in premiums for medium to large commercial systems between 40 kW and 750 kW.

The mentioned factor contributed more than 50% of the new capacity, whereas residential systems up to 10 kW contributed nearly 400 MW.

Also, ground-mounted solar systems above 750 kW contributed to nearly 550 MW.

  • Turkey:

Turkey is the second-largest solar market in Europe. However, it went through a tough phase in 2018 due to the financial downturn and fell short of its target.

In 2017, the solar market growth was up by almost 4.5 times (2.6 GW), and then in the following year got hit by a financial crisis.

In 2018, the country could only install 1.64 GW, which was a year-on-year decrease of 37%.

  • Netherlands:

The Netherlands is an emerging solar market in Europe. However, to become one of the leading and sustained markets in the region, the country’s solar energy needs to be cost-competitive.

In 2018, the Dutch solar market reached GW-scale for the first time. It was one of the three markets to have achieved that feat in Europe.

The country added 1.5 GW of installed capacity in 2018, nearly double growth from 770 MW it added in 2017.

The factors that drove the growth was incentives for net-metering residential installations, which contributed nearly 40% in 2018.

The bulk of these installations came from commercial and utility-scale systems that were given to in technology-neutral tenders under the Dutch SDE+ scheme.

  • France:

The solar market in France could not live up to expectations in 2018. The country did not reach the GW-scale, and even worse, its solar market even contracted marginally by 4% to 873 MW.

The complex incentive scheme in the country that requires solar systems with a minimum capacity of 100 kW to participate in tenders did not work out well.

In addition, even regulatory changes and plans to tender more capacities in 2018 had no positive impact so far.

France fell short of its 10 GW total solar target in 2018 by more than 1 GW.

  • Ukraine:

In 2018, Ukraine made it to the top five solar markets in Europe with the help of its generous feed-in tariffs or Euro 15 cents/kWh for large-scale PV systems.

The country added a total of 803 MW capacity, which was 228% higher than the 245 MW capacity added to the grid in 2017.

Besides large-scale solar PV systems, a net metering scheme for PV installations up to 30 kW also generated interest in 2018.

Overall, there is a surge in the solar energy market in the European Union and Europe.

Out of the 28 EU member states, 22 added more solar capacity to the grid than the previous year. In the entire continent, less than a dozen countries experienced lower demand for solar power technology.

Solar Growth Statistics in Europe

The European Union installed nearly 8.0 GW of solar power systems in 2018.

Overall, total solar installations in the continent grew by nearly 20% to 11.0 GW in 2018, an increase from 9.2 GW from 2017.

        Fig 3: Global Annual Solar PV Installed Capacity 2000-2018 (Source: solarpowereurope.org)

Subsequently, the solar PV market scenario in Europe between 2019 and 2023 is likely to show a consistent two-digit annual growth rate.

The medium phase during the mentioned period is anticipated to have a total installed capacity of 255 GW in 2023.

On the other hand, during the peak period, the solar capacity will be exceeding the 200 GW mark in 2021 and 300 GW in 2023, and subsequently to reach 318 GW by the end of 2023.

Fig.4: Top European Solar PV Markets’ Prospects (Source: (Source: solarpowereurope.org)

Even in the low scenario, the continent could very well add 200 GW of solar power plants in 2023.  

A further forecast shows that the region is to add 16.5 GW by 2025 and grow at a CAGR of 8.4%.

The major driving factors in the market have been continuously reducing solar PV costs, re-modeled support schemes, regulations, and energy storage options.

Also, power purchase agreements (PPAs), funding arrangements, and leasing will remain the major financing models in EU countries.

Although installed renewable capacity has constantly grown in Europe, the proportion of energy from renewable sources has dropped, as there is more energy consumption from non-renewable sources.

What are the reasons behind the surge of the solar industry? 

In the next two years, there is a huge prospect of having a strong demand for solar energy.

Already, countries such as Germany, Turkey, the Netherlands, France, and Ukraine are making their presence felt in the global market.

So, what the EU did right?

The answer is it has removed the trade measures on solar panels and made sure that a positive framework is available by rolling out the Clean Energy Package legislation. Now, the region is ready for accelerated solar growth.

In 2019, for example, the European market may have more significant growth. It is due to a series of subsidy-free projects in southern Iberia along with low equipment prices that will probably put Spain ahead in the European solar market. 

Also, France has made a commitment to implement a high-profile renewable energy development plan and aims to add nearly 3 GW annually for the next six years.

Now, let us look at the main reasons behind the surge in the European solar market:

  • Setting EU 2020 targets: The deadline set by the European Union for the member states to meet their national renewable energy targets for 2020.

A recent update from Eurostat shows that 11 out of 28 countries have already met their target by the end of 2017.

  • Using Tenders: Not so long ago, many European countries began implementing solar tenders, which have played a crucial role in reducing solar power prices. It made solar energy more accessible for residential as well as commercial consumers.
  • Energy consumption & storage: The cost of solar power and battery storage are considerably cheaper than retail electricity in most of the European countries. The price will continue to go down, which will be driving more people and companies to invest in on-site solar installations.
  • Emerging Markets: The low cost of solar is generating interest among the European countries that have not been very active in the solar market.

Countries like Spain have put the focus on generating low-cost solar energy, which might give the country a competitive edge in the solar PV market.

  • Corporate Investments: Investment by corporates in solar energy is playing a critical role in the future sustainability of the industry. 

Many leading companies are making investments to provide cost-competitive solar energy in the market in the wake of declining solar costs. 

  • Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs): There are increasing instances of direct bilateral power purchase agreements (PPAs) in a number of European solar markets.  

In Spain, for example, there was a huge pipeline of PPAs of more than 30 GW in 2018. Also, earlier in 2019, the largest PPA in the world was signed for a 708 MW solar project Portugal and Spain.  

  • Clean Energy Package: The implementation and result of “Clean Energy for All Europeans” legislation have been quite positive for the European solar market.

The region has now set a higher target of 32% renewables by 2030, which ensures the rights for self-consumption.

Now, 2019 is expected to be even better for solar power in Europe. This year, we see the surge in demand is expected to go up by 81% (20.4 GW), and on course, to meet the 2020 target.

The Economic Index of the Solar Industry

These days solar energy plays a crucial role in the national economic development, and it also has an effect on economic growth.

The increase in solar energy production and utilization in European countries depend on the well-being of their population and standard of living.

The EU countries with higher GDP have been able to make progress in producing and utilizing solar energy. It is because higher economic development ensures more financial resources and investment opportunities in new renewable energy technologies.

Also, the European countries have rolled out a number of tax credits, subsidies, financial assistance, and rebates as driving factors for the energy sector.

Relatively new countries in Europe with lower GDP per capita and less developed energy markets have weaker support systems and policy frameworks. It results in a lack of momentum to make solar energy a prominent resource.

When it comes to creating solar jobs and wealth, European countries are likely to create nearly 175,000 full-time jobs and 9,500M value additions by 2021, an EY report states.

Fig.5: Direct & Indirect Job Creations by European Countries from 2008-2021 (Source: solarbusinesshub.com)

The EY report also reveals that an increase in renewable energy target from 27% to 35% for EU 2030 will create more than 120,000 new solar jobs.

Also, the European Directive has implemented a policy that at a minimum of 20% of the total energy should come from renewable energy sources by 2020.   

In countries such as Spain and the Netherlands, current have a high installation rate, a massive project pipeline, and strong political support. All of these factors will lead to a strong demand pull in the solar market until 2023.

Luxembourg will have the highest values of the GDP per capita during the entire period.

Adding more solar installed capacity will create more jobs and foster economic growth in the European market.

To increase the solar market growth, the EU needs to remove all the obstacles by withdrawing the existing trade measures on solar panels and cells. This step will create a favorable regulatory environment for PV in Europe.

Solar Energy Production Statistics in Europe

In 2018, solar energy production across Europe broke all records, particularly during the summer when the mercury soared.

Fig.7: Solar Energy Generation in Top 10 European Solar PV Markets: 2018-2023 (Source: solarpowereurope.org)

In the U.K., solar energy broke the weekly output record output in June 2018, between June 21 and 28, producing 533 GW.

The same year in July, solar energy production recorded 6.17 TW in Germany.

In northern Europe, Denmark had 361 hours of sunlight in May. This resulted in a 33% increase in solar electricity production, breaking all the previous records.

In the Netherlands, consistent sunlight throughout in July led to a 75% spike in solar power generation than the year earlier.

In 2019, the estimated solar energy production will be 20.4 GW across the EU region.

Final thoughts on solar energy in Europe

The European solar energy market is more diverse compared with other regions.

The major driving factors behind the solar industry growth in the European countries has been the increased low-cost unsubsidized solar systems and the carbon tax. These have made solar energy an attractive proposition for consumption and investment.

The European solar generation is still undergoing a transition phase toward becoming a mainstream energy source. However, the progress is already rapid to reduce dependence on traditional energies and government subsidies/incentives.


Solar Power Statistics in Australia 2019

Solar Energy Market in Australia

The renewable energy market down under is up and running!

Yes, solar energy has found its place in Australia on the rooftops of residential and commercial buildings.

According to the 2019 Energy Transition Index by the World Economic Forum, Australia ranked 43rd in the list of 115 countries. This report focuses on the rates at which the energy performance of the countries improve and their readiness to embrace sustainable energy.

In the index, Australia, Canada, and South Korea were the only major economies that scored outside the top 25% of countries.

The renewable energy industry in Australia is on course to install more than 10 GW of new solar and wind power during 2018-19. 

Fig.1: Annual Solar PV Installations in Australia 2018 (Source: assets.cleanenergycouncil.org.au)

In 2018, 2 million households in Australia installed rooftop solar panels. It means that one in every five households now have solar power to bring down their electricity bills.

If this rate of solar installations remains, the country will reach 50% renewable capacity in 2025.

According to the Australian Energy Market Operator, rooftop solar will generate 85% more power than the 2017-18 financial year.

On the other hand, solar farms will supply nearly 5,000MW of power, which is an increase from just a few hundred megawatts of power in 2017-18.

A report by Green Energy Markets states that the first three months of 2019, a record number of solar capacity has been installed in residential and commercial buildings. It is an increase of 46% during the same period last year.

Also, investments in large-scale clean energy projects doubled to become over $20 billion in 2018 as 38 projects were completed in that year.

At the beginning of 2019, already 87 large-scale renewable energy projects are underway or financially committed.

In the energy storage segment, numerous new utility-scale batteries were installed all over the country in 2018.

According to calculations, due to solar installations, customers will save nearly $600 million on their electricity bills over the next decade. The scheme is providing benefits in other areas as well by creating new jobs in the renewable energy sector.

Leading Australian States in Solar Energy in 2019

The renewable energy boom is accelerating in Australia and across the world. State and territory governments are leading Australia’s electricity transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and storage.

In December 2018, 22,010 PV systems were installed in the states across Australia.

The state-wise breakdown for rooftop solar PV installations are:

  • New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT): Nearly 5,700 PV systems;
  • Victoria: 5,400 PV systems
  • Queensland: 5,300 PV systems
  • Western Australia: 3,150 PV systems;
  • South Australia: 1,900 PV systems
  • Northern Territory: 269 PV systems, and
  • Tasmania: 262 PV systems.

Also, the combined numbers of household and commercial PV system installation up to 100 KW can be seen from the chart below:

Fig.2: Combined Household & Commercial PV Installations in the Australian States (Source: assets.cleanenergycouncil.org.au)

A report called “Powering Progress: States Renewable Energy Race” has listed states and territories in Australia according to their renewable energy performance based on various parameters.

The parameters include the percentage of renewable electricity, the proportion of households with solar and policies supporting renewable energy in each state.

Fig 3: State-wise Renewable Energy Performance 2018 (Source: climatecouncil.org.au)

The scorecard above shows that the states such as Tasmania (TAS), the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and South Australia (SA) are leading in terms of renewable energy measures.

Victoria (VIC) and Queensland (QLD) are in second place based on performance.

New South Wales (NSW), the Northern Territory (NT), and Western Australia (WA) have fallen behind compared to other states.  

Except for Western Australia, all other states and territories have a commitment to their renewable energy targets and reducing carbon emissions.

Tasmania (TAS), the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), and South Australia (SA) have the highest proportion of renewable electricity.

South Australia has the maximum amount of installed wind and solar capacity with 1,831 MW, followed by New South Wales (NSW) with 1,759 MW, and Victoria (VIC) with 1,634 MW.

Queensland and South Australia have the highest percentage of residential buildings with rooftop solar at 32.9% and 32.3% respectively. Western Australia ranked third with 26.7% of residential buildings with rooftop solar.

Solar Growth Statistics

The solar industry is witnessing rapid growth in Australia with an increasing demand for solar panels, especially rooftop modules.

In 2018, a total of 218,195 rooftop solar panels were installed, which was 43,599 more than in 2017.

A further breakdown shows that an additional 838 systems were installed per week, or five solar systems an hour.

Nearly 1.5 GW of additional solar capacity was added at the national level, which took the total national rooftop solar capacity to well over 8.1 GW.

Overall, rooftop solar panels delivered 4.2% of Australia’s total energy generation in 2018.

Fig 4: Commercial and Residential Solar Installation Snapshot 2018 (Source: assets.cleanenergycouncil.org.au)

Small-scale solar projects contributed 1/5th or 19.6% of total renewable energy production, which was third behind hydro with 35.2% and wind with 33.5%.

Due to so many projects underway, the competition will remain high for construction resources and workers, and it is good news for the regional areas where most projects are located.

In 2018, over 10,800 direct jobs were created from the large-scale renewable energy construction boom. Another 3000 jobs were created in operations and maintenance.

These jobs and investments have provided indirect benefits, including higher demand for accommodation and services in the regional areas. 

Due to a record number of solar panel installation, the number of authorized solar installers went up to 5864, up by nearly 1000 since 2017.

The average capacity of solar systems also increased from 6.39 kW to 7.13 kW. It reflects the drop in the overall system cost and the increasing number of small-to-medium businesses installing solar.

According to a report by the Clean Energy Regulator, during 2018 and 2019, Australia is about to install nearly 10,400MW of new renewable energy. It will comprise 7,200MW of large-scale renewables and 3,200MW of rooftop solar.

This represents a per-capita rate of 224 watts per person per year, which is among the highest of any nation.

If the current growth rate of renewable energy continues, Australia will go beyond the large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET), and likely to reach 29% of renewable power capacity in 2020 and 50% in 2025.

The current rate of investments may continue because:

  • The Clean Energy Regulator will keep issuing large-scale solar generation certificates to accredited new renewables generators until 2030.
  • Investment opportunities in the renewable energy market are expanding beyond the wholesale electricity market. Companies that see economic benefits and green profile of renewable energy contracts may find the market lucrative.
  • Pricing of solar PV will continue to drop and will create more market opportunities.
  • The use of electric vehicles and electric heat pumps for water and spacing heating will increase the demand for solar energy.
  • PV plants will replace the existing coal power stations.

Government support in large-scale storage projects can make it possible to integrate 50-100% renewables into the Australian grid. In this context, government policies are crucial as they will enable the renewable industry to live up to its potential to deliver deep emissions cuts.

What are the reasons behind the surge of the solar industry? 

A report by Green Energy Markets shows that the contribution of solar PV to the electricity generation mix of Australia reached a record high in 2018.

In the same year, the overall share of renewable energy was 21.3% of Australia’s total electricity. It made it to 20% for the first time in four decades.

One of the reasons behind the surge of solar energy is that many state and territory governments have realized the significance of renewable to bring down power bills. They are now rolling out their own policies in the absence of any federal action.

An increasing number of consumers and businesses are also switching to renewable energy to reduce their power bills.

Particularly, businesses are leading the way with an 83% increase in the capacity of commercial solar installations between 100 KW and 5 MW.

On the other hand, small-scale commercial installations below 100kW went up by 25% in 2018. Also, residential rooftop solar installations had gone up by 17%.

In 2018, the fastest growing technology was large-scale solar plants with more than 100kW capacity that nearly tripled their energy generation capacity.

Now in 2019, the installed capacity of solar energy in Australia is expected to double (18 GW) in the next two years as several new large-scale projects will be completed.

In addition, residential and commercial consumers will continue to have solar energy demand to reduce their electricity bills.

Fig.5: Solar PV Capacity in Australia by 2020 (Source: reneweconomy.com.au)

By the end of 2020, solar energy capacity will be double to 18GW, along with another 4GW of large-scale solar, 4GW of small rooftop solar, and another 1GW of large rooftop solar installations.

In recent times, rooftop solar installation for commercial usage has witnessed a substantial spike. It is because businesses, agricultural farms, and others tend to install their own solar panels. At the current pace, 90% of businesses would have solar panels on their rooftops by 2030.

Right now smaller state-funded projects are on course to achieve their renewable energy targets.

The renewable energy target for Victoria is 25% by 2020 and 40% by 2025, whereas Queensland’s target is 50% energy by 2030.

If the small-scale projects do not face any regulatory intervention across Australian states, their commercial viability may increase the energy demand. In addition, due to increased competition, energy prices are likely to fall.

Related article: Top Solar Statistics You Need to Know in 2019

The Economic Index of the Solar Industry

As stated earlier, in 2018, Australia added more than 2.3 GW of new renewable energy capacity, and 38 projects were completed that year.  

Overall, by the end of 2018, 14.8 GW of new energy capacity was under construction or financially committed with the total investment of $24.5 billion and created more than 13,000 jobs.

    Fig.6: Total Energy Growth, Investments & Job Creation (Source: assets.cleanenergycouncil.org.au)

All this added capacity led to 21% of the total power generation from renewable energy, which is more than adequate to power every residential building in Australia.  

According to a report by Energy Matters, the landmark figure of 2 million installations is “an achievement for the relatively new solar industry. Other milestones along the way are below:

  • More than 20,000 jobs were created in the renewable energy industry in the areas such as operation, construction, and maintenance and rooftop solar installation.
  • As many as 28 large-scale solar projects were completed, with 14 times higher solar capacity installed than the previous best.
  • A total of 20 corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) of 931 MW and supporting projects with a total capacity of 2600 MW were signed across various states.

According to a report by the Australia Institute in 2018, a fast transition to renewable energy will create 58,554 jobs every year for 11 years.

In the current energy scenario, clean energy investments do not require any additional subsidies. However, they need long-term energy policy certainty.

Also, in the context of reducing carbon emission, Federal Labor has promised more constructive action on climate and renewables. There is a proposed target of 50% renewable energy by 2030 can be a strong market signal for investors.

The Council of Australian Governments Energy Council is the key forum for developing consensus on a national energy strategy. It is expected that the economic outcome will be positive for the solar industry.

Solar Energy Production Statistics

Australia has an ideal climate for generating plenty of solar energy because of the total amount of irradiation the country receives.

Due to the abundance of sunlight and clear skies, Australia is capable of generating 60% of the total energy needs from solar alone.

In March 2019, Australia produced a combined capacity of 12,035 MW, out of which 4,068 MW was generated in 2018.

As of 2019 only, 59 solar PV projects with a capacity of 2,881 MW are either under construction, completed or about to start construction.

Also, earlier in December of 2018, the solar energy production energy in the country reached its maximum market share in the National Electricity Market (NEM). Data shows that solar energy peaked at 17% on December 10, and there was still a lot of demand left to keep other generators busy.

Fig.7: Detailed Breakdown of Renewable Energy Production Australia 2018 (Source: assets.cleanenergycouncil.org.au)

So, keeping in mind the year 2021, what will be the scenario in the solar industry? The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has suggested scrapping the solar rebate by then.

According to the Australian Energy Market Operator, by 2021, rooftop solar will produce 85% more electricity than 2017-18. Additionally, solar farms will supply nearly 5,000MW of power, way above the production capacity in 2017-18.

According to projections, large- and small-scale solar PV will continue to get installed at their current rates of 2,000MW and 1,600MW per year in the coming years.

Also, large- and small-scale solar PV will continue to have capacity factors of 21% and 15% respectively.

The mentioned production capacity will further consolidate the position of solar energy as the mainstream energy resource in Australia.

Conclusion

As of June 2019, Australia is among the top 10 leading solar energy markets in the world. However, there are still a few areas that the government needs to pay attention to.

One of the areas is a lack of any permanent national energy policy to regulate high-energy prices that consumers and businesses in Australia have been paying.  

To resolve this issue, states and territories have started their own initiatives to create jobs and investments.  

Also, there is a lack of federal energy and climate policy to reduce carbon footprints in the country.

The good news is that the much-needed reforms are underway and will help address these issues and have all the bases covered in the solar industry.

Solar Power Statistics in China 2019

Solar Energy Market in China

China has become a global leader in the energy market within the space of the last two decades!

When the country began its journey in the energy industry, it virtually had no solar panels installed. However, in the following years, China made it up by turning the table and became the undisputed leader by a margin of more than 100%.

According to the consulting firm Wood Mackenzie, the photovoltaic (PV) installations in China is likely to go up to 370 GW by 2024, which is twice the capacity of the US at that point.

 

Fig.1: Cumulative Annual PV Installations by Country 2001-2024 (Source: weforum.org)

The vast population in China has been instrumental in making the country the largest global energy growth market. Although India is close to the heels, it still has a long way to go.

Already China has more solar capacity than all the countries in the world.

A question that naturally crops up is, “How China has made it possible?”

The answer is renewed policies and streamlined efforts across the country. We will talk about it in detail in one of the following sections.

For now, we can say that China did set up huge solar farms, including the largest farm in the world located in the Tengger Desert.

The government also started many large- and small-scale solar projects.

Now, as the biggest clean energy investor globally, China is eyeing to increase the proportion of renewable energy power mix. The country is already well on its course to achieve that goal.

Despite having the largest solar market in the world, in the domestic energy landscape, solar is still a small proportion of the country’s total energy mix.

 

Leading Chinese States in Solar Energy in 2019

Globally, solar photovoltaic (PV) installations started booming since 2010 and had an annual growth rate of 40%.

China has been leading growth momentum since then. In 2015, the country ranked number one for the first time, both in the installed capacity as well as power generation.

Two years down the line, in 2017, China reached the capacity of 130 GW solar PV, which was nearly six times the capacity of the three largest hydroelectric plants in the world.

The country has already achieved its solar energy goal for 2020, two years ahead of schedule.

In China, most of the solar PV projects are concentrated in the eastern and southern parts of the country. In these two regions, the economy is the most prosperous and has the maximum demand for solar power.

The four provinces in China – Anhui, Jiangsu, Shandong, and Zhejiang have nearly 52% of the total capacity.

 

Fig.2: Installed Capacity of Distributed Solar PV in China (Source: wri.org)

The distributed solar PV is growing at a fast rate in China than large-scale solar power stations.

Here distributed PV refers to relatively smaller solar energy-producing plants that are located near consumers and connected to distribution systems.

In 2017, distributed solar PV generated nearly 13.7 terawatt-hours of electricity, which was enough to meet the energy requirement of all the residential consumers in Beijing for 7.5 months.

Currently, the total installed capacity of distributed solar PV accounts for 27.1% of the country’s total solar PV installation.

 

Solar Growth Statistics

The solar energy market in China got its momentum in the early 2000s, keeping up with the increasing demand for energy.

To make solar a mainstream energy and become a part of the global energy mix, China started giving incentives for boosting the domestic solar PV manufacturing.

The country also initiated the process of acquiring technology and skills required for manufacturing PV cells.

Over the next decade, China caught up with the Western countries in terms of solar technologies by purchasing manufacturing equipment from a competitive international market. It also started employing skilled labour from the vast population.

 

Fig.3: Installed Solar PV Capacity from 2010 to 2017 (Source: idsa.in)

Through concentrated efforts over the years, China has secured the position of the largest solar panel technology manufacturer in the world. Currently, the country manufactures more than 60% of the solar panels globally.

China’s dominance in solar panel manufacturing is evident from the fact that out of the top ten solar panel manufacturers in the world, seven are Chinese firms.

A report by the energy news website EnergyTrend, despite the trade war with the US, China has already shipped 28.5GW of solar PV panels overseas during the first quarter of 2019. An increase of nearly 92% (14.68 GW) during the same period in 2018.

Currently, solar energy accounts for 7% of China’s total energy generation capacity.

Interestingly, in 2017, the newly added PV capacity by China is equal to the total solar PV capacity of Germany and France.

Recently, China rolled out policy changes in the solar sector after evaluating the changing international environment, and to address growing domestic energy challenges.

The country has also lowered the feed-in tariffs that were preventing the unrestricted growth in producing solar power.

The government has also addressed the cumulative debt of $15 billion that the state-run renewable energy fund incurred. The debit is likely to go up to $39 billion by 2020 if appropriate action is not taken.

On June 1, 2018, the Chinese government issued a policy to connect the solar projects to the grid, which will not receive feed-in tariffs.

By implementing these measures, China plans to bring down the subsidy costs, which is getting increasingly difficult to pay.

According to an energy official, China is curbing the growth of solar power capacity, and cutting down on subsidies.

This step will help the energy sector focus on quality than quantity. It will further ease the government’s financial liability.

The 13th five-year plan in China has put the focus on improving the electric grids and lowering curtailment issues.

By implementing new policies and directives, the government wants to ensure that the provinces follow the country’s mandatory renewable portfolio standards. Now, each province has to calculate its power target for 2030.

Provinces that fail to comply with these standards will be penalized, and their revenues could go into reducing the subsidy burden on the government.

 

What are the reasons behind the surge of the solar industry?

In China, these days, solar power is cheaper than grid electricity in cities all over the country, which may boost demand in the long run.

One of the key reasons behind China’s growth in the solar energy segment is distributed solar PV installations.

Here are the four main reasons why distributed solar PV has triggered a growth spike in the country.

 

Setting National Targets

A report under the 13th Five Year Plan of Solar Power Development in 2016 shows that distributed solar PV installation will be a minimum of 60 GW by 2020, with an installation rate of 10 GW per year.

Also, during that period, the government will build 100 demonstration zones of distributed solar PV. As much as 80% new building rooftops and 50% of existing building rooftops will be equipped with solar PV systems.

Additionally, earlier in 2014, China initiated a solar PV program for poverty alleviation program. The objective of this program is to support a large portion (nearly 70-80%) of the initial investment and let families use solar power freely or sell it to the grid.

 

Reduced Cost and Higher Efficiency

Reduction of cost is another reason behind the surge in the distributed solar PV projects, as private companies find them attractive.

The average pricing of global PV modules came down by 79% between 2010 and 2017. During the same period, technological breakthroughs in the solar energy segment resulted in a sharp increase in its efficiency.

All these factors have been instrumental in bringing down the average cost of solar power in China to 0.5 Yuan/kWh (USD 0.077/kWh) in 2017, which was nearly 75% from 2010.

 

Incentive Policies

To achieve its solar energy targets, China issued several incentive policies since 2013. These policies provided support at the national as well as sub-national levels.

Other than national solar subsidy, which is 0.32 Yuan ($0.049) per kilowatt-hour (kWh), local governments have their policies on subsidies for distributed solar PV projects.

Many local areas install solar and have set their own targets for expanding renewable energy.

Rolling out tax incentives for solar stations as well as distributed solar panels are also driving the expansion of solar PV in the domestic market.

 

Revenue-driven Business Models

In China, the electricity rates for industry/commerce are substantially higher than rates for residential usage. Due to this, many businesses install solar PV to produce their own electricity and can have a significant amount of savings.

Also, there are diverse applications of solar energy “Solar PV+,” or integration of solar PV with fisheries, agriculture, and PV livestock operations, which are pushing the growth further ahead.

China is also clearly ahead when it comes to renewable energy technology patents. The country had more than 150,000 renewable energy patents in 2016, which was 29% of the total patents in the world.

The US was second with more than 100,000 patents, followed by Japan and the E.U. with nearly 75,000 patents each.

Overall, the surge in the renewable energy segment has consolidated China’s position as the global leader and reduced dependence on fossil fuel. It is a massive power shift that has lowered the importance of fossil fuel exporters.

As the price of clean energy technology has dropped, and China’s electricity demands witnessed a spike, making investments in renewables seems an attractive proposition.

The bottom line is that commercial solar has become cheaper than grid electricity, which means the world can embrace solar energy without having to pay any subsidy.

 

The Economic Index of the Solar Industry

The continuous growth in the renewable energy sector all over the world has increased the demand for Chinese solar power.

China’s position in the world’s energy landscape has several dimensions. Consolidated GDP growth and integration into the global economy have made it possible to stay ahead in the energy space.

 

      Fig. 4: Subsidy Policy in China from 2015-20 for Solar Power with Utility-Scale (Source: belfercenter.org)

The graph above is about China’s national subsidy policy between 2015 and 2020 for solar power with a utility-scale.

In the graph, we can see there are three categories, which represent variance in solar energy based on geographic differences, insolation in the regions, and local climate conditions.

This is how it reads according to the solar utility-scale:

 

  • In the first category (blue), the annual operating hours are more than 1600 h (h>1600);
  • The second category (red) is between 1400 h and 1600 h (1400<h<1600), and
  • The third category (green) is less than 1400 h (h<1400) for solar power.

The range of operating hours is different because of the availability of sunlight in those three regions.

The regions that receive more sunlight achieve the economies of scale and the regions with cloudy weather or low sunlight fall behind.

 

The Global Perspective

The emergence of solar energy has shifted the balance of power around the world, changed trade patterns and formed new alliances.

Investment in solar power calls for long-term strategy as the cost of installation is still high. High pricing turns policymakers away as they do not feel such investments are necessary for something short-term.

Also, as the price of solar energy continues to drop, many companies prefer to wait until prices drop further.

When it comes to China, the initiative of PV panel manufacturers to shift sales in foreign countries has resulted in 531 new deals in 2018. All this prospective business is making a positive impact on companies in terms of achieving their financial targets.

The overall capacity utilization rates of solar PV companies are said to have reached 78% in the first half of 2019. According to the current demand, cell utilization rates were at 110%.

Despite all the progress in the solar market, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has notified the countries that more investments in renewable energy are required across the world.

The IEA has expressed its concern to prevent more than 1.5 C of the carbon footprint as agreed under the terms of the Paris climate agreement.

 

Solar Energy Production Statistics

A report by the National Energy Administration shows that in the first quarter of 2019, China added 5.2 GW of installed PV capacity. It is a drop from the installed capacity of 9.65 GW during the same period in 2018.

Despite the drop in the installed capacity, solar energy is still ahead of other renewables such as wind (4.78 GW) and biomass (970 MW) in the first quarter of 2019.

On the other hand, PV module production has gone up to 47.5% year-on-year, which accounts for 11.8 GW during the period from January-February.

 

     Fig. 5: Monthly Solar Power Generation from March 2017- March 2019 (Source: statista.com)

Another report by China Customs reveals that the country exported 15 GW of PV modules in the first quarter of 2019, which is up 70% year on year.

According to a research report by Sinolink Securities, between 2017 and 2019, PV power has become relatively affordable globally. Lower pricing has encouraged the major countries in the world to phase out thermal and replace it with solar PV.

A prediction by the IEA shows the total PV installed capacity in the world is likely to reach 1,721 GW by 2030, and it will go up further to 4,670 GW by 2050. China will have the lion’s share in the estimated spike of PV capacity.

The price for a solar PV module has dropped by 94% percent over the past decade. Due to this reason, the cost of building a PV power station has dipped by 90%.

This is where China is still way ahead of other countries because the manufacturing of PV modules has got a boost due to the increased export of solar modules.

Related article: Top 15 Solar Energy Trade Shows in China

 

Conclusion

By integrating renewable energy with the existing power structure, China has become a global leader in renewable power.

There are, however, still some gray areas that the country needs to weed out. One area is the percentage of renewables for the overall electricity generation profile remains low.

Another challenge is that bringing all the produced power from renewable resources to grids for user consumption is difficult. The government needs a way around it.

Also, the lack of physical connection, the rigidity of the electricity market, local protectionism, and competitive pricing still make solar energy less adaptable. However, it is expected that China will overcome these challenges with a proactive policy to utilize the potential of solar energy at all levels.

Archived News

The Chinese solar industry will achieve unprecedented growth in 2012, adding more than 2.8 GW. The strong growth of Chinese solar in 2012 is due to both the 12th Five Year Plan for Renewable Energy Development (2011-2015) and their feed-in tariffs (FiTs).

In February, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology posted a plan that calls for certain polysilicon producers to reach 50,000 tons of annual production capacity by 2015; it also wants solar cell and panel makers to reach 5 gigawatts of annual capacity in the same time frame.

Like the rest of the solar sector the stock prices of Chinese solar companies have declined in the last half of 2011. However, domestic installations are expected to boost Chinese solar companies in 2012.

In 2010 China had only 893 MW of installed solar capacity, that number grew an additional 1.7 GW in 2011. Based on annual installed capacity China is expected to surpass the US in 2012 to become the third largest PV market in the world.

According to the 12th Five Year Plan, targets for installed capacity are expected to be set at 10 GW by 2015 and 50 GW by 2020. This 2015 target implies an annual growth of over 1000%.

The Chinese government said the new 5-year plan aims to promote domestic solar energy use and bolster Chinese manufacturers’ competitive edge in the global market that is marked by intensifying competition and trade disputes.

To make solar more competitive with conventional sources of power, the plan also calls for reducing the price of solar panels to 7000 yuan per kilowatt, or around $1 per watt, by 2015.

As part of the plan China is promoting the development of smaller-scale distributed solar projects in populated areas. This will attract private small and medium enterprises to the installation market, and large players will focus on bigger projects.

To guarantee market demand for the solar power produced, China has mandated minimum prices for FiTs grid operators of at least 15 cents/kWh. This is expected to be paired with clean energy quotas for grid operators.

Original Article on The GREEN MARKET Blog

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In the first half of 2013 shipments of PV modules reached 15 gigawatts with about 60 percent coming from Chinese PV, according to new TrendForce data. The news could spell trouble particularly for European PV manufacturers who aren’t able to compete with the inexpensive modules coming from China.

It also appeared that of the 54 gigawatts of PV module capacity 60 percent of it was Chinese. In fact, EnergyTrend found that, “Among the top ten manufacturers, only First Solar was not a Chinese manufacturer.”

Already a growing number of solar manufacturers in Europe have filed for bankruptcy or are seeking to reorganize. “For example, Solarezo, Conergy, and Gehrlicher all filed for insolvency and some manufacturers have started business restructuring,” TrendForce stated. SolarWorld has also run into problems in Germany and is seeking to restructure.  Meanwhile Panasonic plans to close its module plant Hungary in September.

“The future for PV manufacturing in Europe is worrisome due to the government subsidy reduction, high manufacturing cost, and competition from cheap Chinese products,” TrendForce’s EnergyTrend research division said. Chinese modules were being manufactured at 19 to 22 cents per watt, whereas European manufacturers were at least 27 percent higher in manufacturing costs. The low manufacturing costs made the the cheapest price for Chinese PV as low as 54 cents per watt, while the least expensive modules from other countries were costing 66 cents per watt. “Moreover, Chinese manufacturers can get a refund on export tax, thus the price for Chinese products would be about 30 percent cheaper in European market,” the company said.

EnergyTrend also noted that Chinese modules are continuing to gain traction in Europe as countries reduce their incentives for solar. Among them Germany, Italy and Spain—the leading markets for solar on the European continent have all reduced their incentive programs are likely to continue to do so. “With European governments continuously cutting the subsidies, in order for system investors to receive higher [returns on investments], Chinese modules have become the first choice for manufacturers,” Energy Trend said.

The European Union, largely due to the lobbying efforts of SolarWorld, has enacted tariffs against Chinese PV, since China has been found to be in violation of international trade laws for subsidizing its manufacturers. Similarly the U.S. has enacted tariffs against Chinese PV, but thus far it appears that China is outcompeting by underselling the competition. That said, however, the price drops of PV, which have forced some manufacturers out, are appearing to stabilize compared to the last few years.

Original Article on Cleanenergyauthority

China solar outlook 2015HSBC issued a bullish report on China’s solar industry this morning, saying that Beijing is now dead serious about controlling pollution. The bank upgraded its China solar demand outlook from 12GW to 15GW for 2015, and from 14GW to 16GW for 2016.

China is already the world’s largest market for solar. Beijing has set an ambitious goal 100GW of installed solar copacities by 2020.

China’s need to diversify away from its dependence on coal, which still makes up around two-thirds of of the energy mix, is well understood. We are all choking in foul air here! Sitting in Hong Kong, this blogger now has a lingering allergy-induced cough.

The more important question is implementation. Last year, Beijing insisted that the industry switch from the giant desert solar farms, or the utility scale generations, to smaller seaboard rooftops, or distributed systems. But the industry was not ready. As a result, in 2014, China likely have installed only 10.5GW solar systems, smaller than 2013′s 12GW.

chinese solar supplyChina said a U.S. ruling that will trigger tariffs on solar panels imported from China and Taiwan will hurt both local manufacturers and American companies that buy them.

The U.S. International Trade Commission yesterday ruled that solar products imported from China and Taiwan harm manufacturers, the final step for imposing dumping and anti-subsidy duties on the imports. It’s part of a clean-energy trade dispute between the world’s largest economic powers.

The move threatens global development of renewables and will ultimately hurt U.S. companies that benefit from low-priced solar components, China’s commerce ministry said today in a statement on its website. China will protect its own interests in the framework of the World Trade Organization and through the U.S. justice system, it said.

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China is upping its solar target once again, after having done so several times in past couple of years.

Last year, China raised the target to an eye-popping 21 gigawatts (GW) by 2015, and the new target of 35 GW is 67% higher than that.

That means, in just 3 years, China will have added five times the solar it has installed today – about 6.5 GW.

For perspective, consider that all the solar installed over the years adds up to 5.9 GW in the US, and that’s after some record-breaking years.

Since 2011, China had 2 GW of solar and has more than tripled it since then. 10 GW are planned for this year, for which $2.1 billion in subsidies have already been allocated for domestic solar project developers.

The country has every reason to do this. The air is so thick with smog that people can barely see, much less breathe, reaching record levels in Beijing this month. As China sees the real effects of climate change in catastrophic floods and drought, it’s got to become more energy efficient and reduce carbon pollution.

As of the end of 2011, China burned almost as much coal as the rest of the world combined, according to the International Energy Agency.

Then there’s its suffering solar industry. After flooding US and European markets with low-priced solar panels, China’s solar manufacturers are reeling from oversupply and too tight margins. The industry needs a local market to buoy flagging sales.

“We’ve got more pressure to save energy and reduce emissions as smog worsens due to pollution,” he said. China will use renewable energy to cut coal consumption and support the domestic industry amid U.S. and Europe anti-dumping charges against Chinese solar products, Shi Dinghuan, counselor of China’s State Council and president of the Chinese Renewable Energy Society, told Bloomberg.

Besides adding significant amounts of renewable energy, the government is also looking at ways to further raise energy efficiency. As of July 1, 2012, a trial is underway that charges residents higher electricity rates when they exceed baseline levels.

The country is also moving ahead on its cap-and-trade program, which goes into effect in 2015. Seven pilot programs in major cities will be rolled out this year and this month, China set a cap on carbon emissions at 4 billion tons of coal equivalent by 2015.

For the past two years, China’s carbon emissions growth offset significant cuts in the US and EU, resulting in a 3% increase in global emissions.

Other measures will incentivize dirty companies to clean up their act, such as China’s green credit policy. Last year, the government announced it would support development of seven industries through subsidies and loans. At the same time, banks will be required to deny loans to polluting, inefficient companies.

Guidelines have been issued that help lenders rate companies on their environmental and social risks.

And if companies fail environmental inspections, they won’t be allowed to file for an IPO.

Original Article on SustainableBusiness

 

Chinainvested US$34.6 billion in clean energy projects during 2009 – almostdouble US investments in the same period. China has more installed windpower capacity than any other country in the world. And the Asian poweris now tied with America as the most attractive location in which toinvest in renewable energy projects, according to the Renewable EnergyCountry Attractiveness Indices, published by project finance advisorsErnst & Young in June.

According to Ben Warren, Ernst & Young’s Environment and EnergyInfrastructure Advisory Leader, China’s performance results from itsdetermination to “build a dominant position in the global market fortechnology manufacture and supply.”

The Ernst & Young investment attractiveness score is calculatedfrom assessments of each country’s renewables infrastructure(electricity market regulatory risk, planning and grid connectionissues, and access to finance) and its renewables resources (onshore and offshore wind, solar PV and CSP, geothermal and biomass).

While China strengthened on the indices, the US has dropped back dueto the increasing likelihood that the much-awaited climate and cleanenergy bill will not be passed before the November mid-term elections.

The federal government had a direct effect on the performance ofrenewables sector industries in the US last year, according to theanalysis. The stimulus package that allowed operators to convertproduction tax credit or investment tax credit into Treasury grants wasvital in allowing pipeline projects to be completed during 2009.However, E&Y believes the stimulus has been less effective inmaintaining momentum into 2010. The rate of installation of windcapacity dropped in the first quarter of 2010 to its lowest since 2007.

The Ernst & Young analysis cites a number of points thatstrengthen the position for the US renewables sector. The need forhedges against unstable oil and gas prices, the need for energy security of supply, and an expectation that deepwater oil exploration will beslower, more regulated, more costly and less profitable, all promote the wisdom of investment in renewables.

But how should potential US investors in solar, for instance, reactto the rise of the Chinese with their plan for “a dominant position inthe global market?” (punctuation inside quotation marks)

The US media commentators on this subject can be split into twocamps, according to China energy consultant Chris Brown. One camp viewsChina as a global solar powerhouse that will eventually beat the US into submission. The other camp believes the Chinese are not serious aboutdeveloping a domestic solar market because of the difference in pricebetween coal-based and solar electricity generation.

The answer when viewed from ground level in China is  lot morecomplicated, says Brown.  There are some impressive solar policies inplace in China, but there is a lot of regional variation. “The mostinteresting solar policies are happening at the provincial level,” hewrites.

There are also some major implementation problems. China faces manyof the same challenges as the United States. The infrastructure forelectricity transmission between Chinese provinces is very limited. Ithas not managed to create a nationwide comprehensive feed-in tariff. And there are also energy storage issues that restrict the country’simpressive ambitions.

“When the China kicking our ass crowd points to the money Beijing isputting into clean tech, we need to closely watch how the money andpolicy trickles down to the local level.”

Source: https://2greenenergy.com/china%e2%80%99s-green-energy/4689/

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Solar Power Statistics in India 2019

Solar Energy Market in India

India is emerging as one of the major solar energy markets in the world and in the process of catching up with the two leading countries like China and the US. 

Currently, India ranks as the third-largest solar market in the world. 

Over the past decade, a lot of things have changed in the Indian solar market. After a significant policy reshuffling by the current government and increasing adaptation of solar energy throughout the country have proved to be the right move towards achieving renewable energy solutions.

The Indian government has set a target to reach 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022.

The increased capacity will help to meet one of the goals according to the Paris climate agreement. The goal is to make renewable sources account for 40% of the total power-generation capacity by 2030.

       Fig.1: Estimated Potential of Renewable Power in India 2018 (Source: mospi.gov.in)

In 2018, the country’s cumulative solar capacity was 28 GW, and in 2019, it is already set for a record solar capacity additions.

A report by Mercom Communications India shows that solar installations in India have reached 8.3 GW in recent times, including rooftop solar panels and large-scale solar units. 

The same study further shows that there was a spike in rooftop installations in the country by a substantial 66% year-on-year with total cumulative installations were nearly 3.3 GW at the end of 2018. 

Another report by renewable energy consultancy firm Bridge to India, new installations are likely to reach approximately 14 gigawatts (GW) in 2019. This is nearly 50% more than the capacity added in 2018. 

Adding new solar capacity will take India’s installed solar capacity to almost 38 GW by the end of 2019. 

Overall, India is set to add up nearly 16 GW of clean energy capacity in 2019, which are mostly driven by large-scale solar projects.

On a year-to-year basis, the share of solar capacity in India went up from 6.6% in March 2018 to 8.4% in March 2019. 

Among all the renewable energy sources, solar accounts for nearly 38% of the installed capacity, which was up by 2% compared to the earlier quarter.

Currently, as many as 80 large-scale projects are in the pipeline of 5 MW capacity or more.  

Related article: Top 10 Solar Associations in India

Leading Indian states in Solar Energy in 2018-19

The government of India has set a target of solar installed capacity of 100 GW by 2022. 

Achieving this installation goal will be a cumulative effort by the Indian states. 

Currently, the states in the southern part of India are ahead when it comes to solar panel installations by the end of 2018. 

Other states that are trying to stay close are mainly Telangana, Rajasthan, and Gujarat. 

Fig.2: Top 10 Indian States in Solar Installation (Source: mercomindia)

Karnataka

Currently, Karnataka is leading the solar race among the Indian states. According to Mercom’s India’s Solar Project Tracker, the state has gone past 5 GW of total solar installations in 2018. It has a 24% market share of the total installed capacity in India.

It seems that Karnataka is likely to maintain its lead in 2019, while other states such as Telangana, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh will try to catch up as the year goes.

Telangana

Telangana is the second among the leading states with an installed capacity of 3.2 GW. There is a pipeline of solar projects with approximately 200 MW capacity. 

Rajasthan

Rajasthan is another state with a high potential for solar market expansion due to its sunny weather. Currently, the installed capacity in the state is nearly 2.3 GW. Also, there is a significant solar project pipeline of nearly 1.5 GW.

Andhra Pradesh

The solar installed capacity of Andhra Pradesh is 2.3 GW, and the state has a project development pipeline of more than 600 MW.

Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu has installed a solar capacity of 1.8 GW and has a substantial solar project pipeline of more than 2 GW.

Gujarat

Gujarat has nearly 1.4 GW of installed solar capacity, and a project development pipeline of more than half a gigawatt.

Madhya Pradesh

The solar installed capacity of Madhya Pradesh is 1.3 GW, and another gigawatt of projects that are in the project pipeline.

Maharashtra

Maharashtra’s installed solar capacity is 1.1 GW, and the state has projects of 350 MW in the pipeline.

Punjab

The installed solar capacity in Punjab 810 MW, and currently has a small pipeline of solar projects.

Uttar Pradesh

The 10th spot goes to Uttar Pradesh, which has an installed capacity of 635 MW and has a project pipeline of around 300 MW.

The remaining Indian states together have 4% solar installed capacity. 

Solar Growth Statistics

India continues to add renewable energy capacity to its overall energy mix.

During the financial year 2018-19, solar energy will account for nearly 22.3% of India’s energy capacity mix. This is a significant spike from the previous financial year (2017-18) of 20.3% share. 

India has recently gone beyond the landmark of 80 GW in terms of renewable energy capacity. Out of the total capacity, the share of solar energy is 29.55 GW, and the rest is wind power with a capacity of 36.37 GW. 

As mentioned earlier, the government of Indian has set a target of reaching 175 GW of clean energy capacity by 2022, in which 100 GW for solar energy. 

According to the Power and New & Renewable Energy Ministry, to keep pace with this energy target, a total of 29.55 GW of solar energy capacity has been installed in the country as on June 30, 2019. 

The major contributing factor to Indian’s overall solar energy market growth is attributed to large-scale solar projects.

Fig. 3: Large-scale Solar Capacity Addition 2019 (Source:qz.com

Besides large-scale projects, installations of rooftop solar panels also continue to go up.

Residential consumers in India still have not completely adopted the rooftop solar panels due to their relatively high cost. 

Commercial and industrial buildings, however, buy grid electricity at significantly higher rates than residential consumers and find it more economical to switch to solar panels.

Fig. 4: Rooftop Solar Capacity Addition – 2015-19 (Source:qz.com)  

At the end of March 2019, India’s total installed power capacity was 358 GW with renewable energy accounted for 80 GW, comprising 22%. It is an increase of 1.1% compared with the financial year 2017-18 with a cumulative energy installation of 70 GW.

What are the reasons behind the surge of the solar industry? 

One of the major reasons behind the surge in the solar energy industry is the government’s push to reach 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022 as per the Paris climate agreement.

The state and central governments are issuing tenders and inviting bids for large-scale projects. The main customers of these projects are state-owned power distributing companies.

Commissioning these projects may take up to 2 years, and that is when it is considered that the new capacity is added.

Here is a list of the primary reasons that have pushed India towards solar energy growth:

Government Initiatives & Policies – The government specialized bodies like the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) have played a crucial role in revising and rolling out new energy policies.  

By implementing those policies and setting aggressive targets, it has been possible for the country to become one of the major solar energy markets. 

Incentives – Since 2010, there were several subsidies and incentives that the government implemented that have encouraged the process of adopting solar energy. 

In the beginning, there was up to 30% that the government provided for all rooftop solar projects, boosted the development of the rooftop solar market.

Some of the incentives that contributed to the growth of the solar market were under 80-1A, rolled out between 2010 and 2015. Those incentives had given major relief to solar developers by offering tax breaks. 

Low Cost of Labour – Low labour cost in the Indian solar market helped to employ a large number of people, which made it possible to speed up the projects. 

The easy availability of low-cost labour offered consumers energy at the lowest cost as well as created a significant number of jobs in the market. 

These days, in India, a large solar plant with 500 MW capacity can be set up within 18 months, whereas a similar hydro or thermal plant might take 2-3 times more.

Streamline Land Acquisition – In 2016, the government had introduced guidelines that instructed the state governments to identify suitable large lands with an appropriate level of insolation. 

Also, the states had to prioritize the use of government non-agricultural or wasteland to speed up the acquisition process for establishing solar parks. 

The Economic Index of the Solar Industry

Renewable energy has secured a prominent place in the Indian energy space to its low-cost power generation capacity.

India’s new status as the cheapest solar energy producer has further created a shift towards complete reliance on renewable energy. 

A recent report by The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows that the costs for setting up solar PV projects in India dropped by nearly 80% between 2010 and 2018. 

Fig.5: Solar Capacity in 2019 (Source:qz.com

The initiatives taken by the government of India as early as 2010, fostered consistent growth in the solar energy segment. 

The encouraging surge in the energy sector had further helped the solar industry to get the cost advantage through the economies of scale in a short period. 

The total installed solar capacity in 2010 was 10 MW, and subsequently, the installed capacity went up significantly to  6000 MW. Overall, it was a spike of 600 times in just 6 years. 

In March 2019, the total installed solar capacity in the country reached 30 GW, which was a jump of 5 times in 3 years. 

Currently, solar energy has reached 30% of the target set of 100 GW by 2022, which is contributing 38% to the total renewable energy capacity.  

Solar Energy Production Statistics

The capacity of solar energy production in India has gone up significantly in recent years. A report by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) shows that in the Q1 of 2019, solar power accounted for more than 11.4 BUs of electricity produced. 

There is an increase of 34% year-over-year (YoY) from 8.5 BUs energy produced in the Q1 of 2018.

During the financial of 2018-19, India generated solar power of nearly 39.2 BUs, which is an increase of almost 52% compared to the previous financial year 2017-18.

Fig.6: Solar Electricity Production in India (Source: mercomindia)

Another report by Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker reveals that installed solar capacity in the country will increase by 32% by the end of 2019, compared to 22.7 GW installed in the previous financial year. 

Currently, renewable energy initiatives in India have boosted the solar industry. It has further helped the nation become the second most attractive market in the world for equipment related to renewable energy.  

The transition of the solar energy industry in India has got the much-needed momentum, keeping up with yearly energy target. Despite the fact that the target of 100 GW of solar energy by 2022 seems ambitious, India has geared up with a clear intent to achieve it. 

In the current global energy market scenario, India has already surpassed the US to become the second-largest solar power market in the world (based on solar power installations). 

As stated earlier, the government is focusing more on initiating and completing large-scale solar installations in the country, which accounts for 87% solar capacity.

On the other hand, rooftop solar installations are also set to pick up. During FY 2018-19, rooftop installations accounted for 1,836 MW and contributed significantly to the country’s total energy capacity of 53%.

Related article: Solar Power Statistics in the USA 2019

Conclusion

Deployment of solar projects and the production of solar energy have gone up substantially in India. However, there are still some gray areas, particularly in the area of solar equipment manufacturing, as only a handful of companies are dominating this segment. 

To become a global leader in the solar energy segment, the country cannot rely mainly on large-scale solar projects. India has the second-largest population in the world, and reaching out to residential customers with low-cost solar energy will expand the market substantially.  

Currently, the need-of-the-hour is to develop an end-to-end value chain to be more competitive and achieve sustainable energy growth in the long run.

Related article: Top 10 Solar Mounting System Manufacturers in India

Solar Power Statistics in Latin America: 2019

Solar Energy Market in Latin America

Globally, the pace of PV installation is likely to go up to 125 GW per year from 2020, according to a report by Wood Mackenzie.

It seems that Latin America is going to have a significant contribution to the continuous global solar capacity expansion.

The renewable energy capacity in the world has increased by an average of 8% during the last decade. A significant part of this growth has taken place in Latin America, which was $54 billion between 2012 and 2015.

 

            Fig.1: Share of Renewable Investment from 2008-2030 (Source: bbh.com)

Energy policies and energy trade dynamics vary in different Latin American countries. Despite that, most countries have been able to scale up solar energy due to deploying floating solar technologies.

Different drivers steer the expansion of renewable energy in Latin America. The countries that are leading the way in solar energy are Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Peru, Argentina, and other countries.

Together these countries account for nearly 77% of the total energy consumption and approximately 75% of the total renewable energy capacity in Latin America.

Related article: Top Solar Statistics You Need to Know in 2019

 

Leading Latin Countries in Solar Energy in 2018-19

 

Solar Energy in Mexico

Among Latin American countries, Mexico looked the most promising in 2018. The energy capacity of the country in that year was 2,555 MW.

After the deregulation of the energy sector in 2014, Mexico has been on the fast-track to generate renewable energy and meet the country’s target of 35% clean energy generation by 2024.

The Aura Solar I, in La Paz, Baja California state has one of the largest solar power plants in Latin America.

Also, the Villanueva Solar plant is another large plant in Mexico that had 310 MW installed capacity by mid-2018.

Mexico has an aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50% in 2050.

 

Fig.2: Leading Latin American Countries in PV energy (Source: tsolar.com)

 

Solar Energy in Brazil

Brazil reportedly has the cheapest solar energy market in Latin America with a rate of $16.95/MWh. Earlier, Mexico used to offer solar energy for $18.93/MWh.

In 2018, the renewable energy capacity in the country was 2296 MW.

Brazil is one of the emerging countries when it comes to expanding solar capacity. The country’s installed renewable energy capacity accounts for more than 52% of the total renewable capacity in Latin America and consumes 6% of the total energy.

Just like Mexico, Brazil has also set a target to bring down its carbon emissions by more than 40% by 2030.

 

Solar Energy in Chile

Chile is another Latin American country that is leading the solar energy revolution in the region. The government aims to move away from the country’s dependence on fossil fuels, which still account for 55% of electricity production.

During the last decade, Chile has invested nearly $7 billion in renewable energy, with more than 80 solar projects that are in progress.

On average, solar power plants in Chile produce 1,345 MW compared to only 11 MW at the beginning of 2013.

In 2018, the total solar capacity in the country increased to 2137 MW.

The solar power plant in the Atacama Desert is the largest in South America. Shortly, the plant is expected to generate 196 MW of solar energy.

By 2035, Chile plans to produce 65% of its electricity from renewable sources, a percentage that will increase to 70% for 2050.

 

Solar Energy in Honduras

Honduras has been on an accelerated path of generating solar energy capacity.

The country has surpassed other leading countries such as Uruguay and Argentina, in terms of total solar PV capacity.

In 2018, the total PV energy capacity in Honduras was 516 MW.

Earlier in 2016, the PV plants in Honduras accounted for 10.2% of the country’s electricity, and it was the first country in the world to achieve that feat.

 

Solar Energy in Peru

Peru joined the renewable energy index in May 2013, and by March 2015 it secured 26th rank.

In 2018, the total solar energy capacity in the country was an impressive 345 MW, more than the countries like Argentina and Uruguay.

According to the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MINEM), the demand for renewable energy is likely to grow at 10% per year, which is supposed to get a boost by industrial growth.

The government in Peru has set energy targets that renewable energy will meet 60% of the total consumption by 2025.

 

Solar Energy in Uruguay

According to the government reports, since rolling out the “2005–2030 Energy Plan,” the public and private investment in renewable energy in Uruguay has been 17% of GDP or nearly $7 billion.

In 2018, Uruguay’s total solar energy capacity stood at 248 MW. The future potential to generate solar power in the country is encouraging, considering that the country receives 1700 KW/m2 of sunlight a year on an average.

Currently, 50% of its energy comes from renewable sources. These days, Solar PV power is being implemented on a large-scale.

Uruguay has put a strong emphasis on providing solar energy in rural areas; especially rural schools that are far from the grid. Also, the aim is to make hospitals, public buildings, sports clubs, and hotels energy-efficient.

 

Solar Energy in Argentina

Currently, Argentina is committed to becoming solar energy efficient. A good example is the Jujuy city, which is completely reliant on the supply of solar energy.

Argentia is reported to have the third-largest wind power reserves in the world, and also has the planet’s second-largest solar power reserves.

In 2018, the total solar energy capacity of the country was 191 MW.

In recent years, the government in Argentina had invested $1.8 billion in producing clean energy, and there is a drop in greenhouse gas emissions by 30%.

Other countries that have significantly increased their solar energy capacity have been El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, Guatemala, Cuba, Colombia, and Bolivia.

 

LATAM Solar Energy Growth Statistics

A decade back, the renewable energy market was almost non-existent in Latin America. In 2007, total installations in the region were just 30 MW.

Over the years, Latin America has emerged as one of the leading regions in installing solar capacity, which went up to 537 MW,

The countries in Latin America that have witnessed substantial growth in solar energy are Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Honduras, Uruguay, and Argentina.

 

Fig.3: Solar Energy Capacity in Latin America in 2018 (Source: IRENA Renewable Energy Statistics 2019)

Other countries have relatively small but growing solar energy markets that have the potential to grow into prominent markets in the coming years.

According to the PV magazine, 2018, Latin America added 2,472 MW of solar PV capacity in 2017, which was 52% higher than in 2016.

Again in 2017, Latin America had the largest solar trackers market. In 2018, the region’s global shipments reached 20 GW, an increase of nearly 30%.

Latin America still meets a small part of global renewable energy demand. However, markets are expanding rapidly, and large corporations are investing in the region seeing its energy growth potential.

 

   Fig.4: Estimated Future Solar Energy Growth from 2020-2040 (Source: carlosstjames.com)

Another report by GTM Research states that the solar energy market in Latin America is about to see exponential growth. The forecast indicates that the installed capacity of solar PV energy will be 41 GW between 2016 and 2021.

At the end of the current decade, Latin America may represent 10% of the global demand for PV  energy.

This growth statistics prove how the solar energy market in Latin America has matured and attracted investors from all over the world.

 

What are the reasons behind the surge of the solar industry? 

The main reason behind the surge in the Latin American solar industry is the governments’ decision to move away from fossil fuels, and adopt solar energy.

On April 22, 2016, countries such as Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia, Bolivia, and Venezuela signed the Paris Agreement, at United Nations HQ in New York.

Subsequently, on July 26, 2016, Ecuador signed the agreement to join hands with other countries to push solar energy growth.

The agreement set ways to bring down greenhouse gas emissions through more adaptation of renewables, and make the ecosystems more resilient to combat global warming.

Now, these countries have the objective that by 2050, 20% of the energy will be produced from clean energy sources.

Other reasons are:

 

Strong Renewable Energy Policies:

In recent years, Latin American countries have rolled out solar-friendly policies. These policies have paved the way for the solar energy market in the region to become a mainstream energy source.

 

Restoring Financial Stability:

In Latin America, the three most promising markets for solar installations include Brazil, Mexico, and Chile. These countries have gradually restored financial stability after a period of recession.

More involvement of companies in the solar energy sector is likely to become a critical factor in the region’s financial growth.

 

Favourable Weather Conditions:

Some of the regions in Latin America get high irradiation, which is ideal for generating solar energy. For example, the Solar Belt in Baja California, Mexico, and Sertão in Brazil get irradiation between 1,600 and 2,250 kWh/m2 per year.

This favourable climate condition has a high potential to grow solar energy in these regions and can meet all of South America’s energy requirements.

 

Economic Index of the Solar Industry in LATAM

Several Latin American countries are witnessing fast growth of yearly solar installations due to abundant solar resources and a favourable political situation.

Large companies are investing in the region, boosting the expansion of the solar energy market. As mentioned earlier, the top country that added maximum in 2018 was Mexico (2555 MW).

One of the reasons for the substantial growth in Latin America has been due to the grid connection of several large projects. Another reason was a significant spike in projects under the net metering scheme in Mexico.

Much of the added solar capacity in Latin America has taken place through large-scale solar power purchase agreements (PPAs). Many PPAs were announced in 2018, which made Latin America one of the leading continents with substantial solar plants in the world.

 

Investment Statistics 

In Latin America, investment in solar energy is rising for several reasons.

 

  • Frequent instances of natural disasters in the region have forced the authorities to think about alternative energy sources and move away from traditional energy sources like fossil fuels.
  • Several Latin American countries are investing more in solar energy to reduce carbon footprints.

A report by National Geographic shows that countries such as Mexico, Uruguay, Brazil, Costa Rica are having positive trends towards increasing reliability in solar energy.

Particularly, Costa Rica was the first country that ran all the energy-powered operations entirely on renewable energy for 300 days in 2017.

 

  • Implementing new policies in Latin American countries have made way for heavy investments in solar energy.

Also, from a commercial point of view, large global companies are investing and driving renewable energy goals. For example, Google has made a significant investment in renewable energy, and the company receives 100% of its energy from the El Romero plant.

 

LATAM Solar Energy Production Statistics

In recent years, Latin America has seen a boom in the solar PV market.

It is a clear indication that the region is going through a transition from dependence on fossil fuels to renewable energy, particularly solar energy.

The photovoltaic boom in Latin America seen from country to country. The figures reflect the clear rise in photovoltaic solar energy in this region.

 

 Fig.5: Solar Energy Production in Latin America (Source: IRENA Renewable Energy Statistics 2019) 

When it comes to solar energy production, Mexico has Latin America’s largest solar project in Coahuila. This plant is likely to provide solar energy to millions of homes in Mexico with a capacity of 3 GW.

Brazil is the second country after Chile to go beyond the 1 GW of PV solar capacity.

Chile has installed PV solar capacity of 2.1GW, which indicates a remarkable rise of solar energy boost in recent years.

Argentina has a record of 135 renewable energy projects worth $7,200 million.

In Bolivia, at the end of 2018, a 60-MW solar plant was opened in Uyuni. Earlier, another project of 5 MW solar energy plant was started in March.

Colombia started its first solar PV power station in 2017. Also, in the same year, the country established its first solar park with a capacity of 9.8 MW.

The contribution of renewable energy to the electric mix only reaches 3%, and the government announced that by 2028, there could be between 143 and 239 MW of solar.

 

Fig.6: Top 10 Solar PV plants in Latin America (Source: solarplaza.com)

 

Closing Words

The Latin American region, with its rapid growth of the solar energy market, has become one of the major contributors to the global solar market.

Mostly bright weather in Latin America, abundant natural resources, and supportive government policies have created a favourable environment for developing solar energy sources.

All of these factors have combined and put Latin America one of the major solar energy markets in the world.

Related article: Top 21 Trade Shows for the Solar Industry

 

Top 15 Solar Panel Installers in Canada

The solar industry in Canada is having a fast-paced growth. The majority of this growth has happened in and around the Ontario solar market, which produces more than 99% of Canada’s solar energy. The Ontario market is among the top 20 solar electricity markets in the world.

Besides Ontario, other provinces and cities are also catching up due to the expansion of the solar market in the country. 

By  2020, solar electricity will account for nearly 1% of total electricity generation in Canada, with a capacity of almost 6,300 megawatts (MW). 

The industry will also create nearly 65,000 job-years, employing around 10,000 people annually. Most of this employment is likely to happen in construction, manufacturing, operations, and maintenance.

In this post, we will talk about the top 15 solar panel installers in Canada. These companies have been picked based on the minimum installation size of 1 MW, small installations, and off-grid/on-grid installation capacity.

Related article: Solar Power Statistics in Canada 2019

AMP Solar Group

Website: https://amp.energy

Amp Solar Group is an Ontario-based company that works on flexible, clean energy infrastructure.

The company has completed 32,000 projects to date. Moreover, 2GW investment is in the pipeline, and 1.8 billion capital has been deployed.

Also, in Oct. 2018, Amp Energy closed C$200 million financings in collaboration with ZOMA Capital. According to the company, this financing deal has consolidated its position as a market leader, and will further accelerate the growth process.

Amp Solar Group uses proprietary, technology-based risk management tools to provide affordable and clean solar power with a reliable system and security for customers. 

Arborus Consulting

Website: arborus.ca

Arborus Consulting has more than 30 years of track record in energy analysis, design engineering, and consulting for high-performance buildings. 

Arborus has evaluated, designed, and installed more than 100MW of renewable energy projects, which include PV, solar thermal, and others. They also have experience as a developer for utility-scale solar.  

Arborus has developed and installed solar systems in Thousand Islands National Park, Jasper National Park, St-Eugene, Ontario, and even at remote schools in Argentina.

Also, the company has installed solar power generation systems and energy storage while working for remote government facilities and communities.

The energy modelling portfolio of Arborus has more than 700 energy simulations, verification, and technical assistance. The company has a proven track record in modelled technologies, strategies, and their applications.  

Azgard

Website: azgard.com

Azgard Solar provides a complete range of solar products, including solar panels, solar racking, and inverters with a full turn-key solar system package. 

The company has also designed the SunRanger ground-mounted solar racking system, which is a low cost and low maintenance system. The product is unique as it is seasonally adjustable because it is capable of dealing with harsh weather conditions in Canada. 

Azgard’s most popular service package is the self-installation solar option. It is one of the lowest costs and highest return generating solar systems (can be adjusted manually) in the market.

The company also offers services such as design, installation, operations, and maintenance.  

Bendygo

Website: www.bendygo.com

Bendygo’s areas of specialization are custom design and installation of solar power for businesses, residential buildings, and agriculture.

The company works on a project from scratch such as the initial concept, feasibility assessment, Feed-in Tariff (FIT) contract, and more. 

Bendygo has a solar panel installation team to manage a solar project end-to-end. It provides services such as design, engineering, purchase, construction, and application. 

The company also finances, builds, develops, operates, and maintains solar power projects on land and building rooftops. 

Bur Oak Resources

Website: www.bur-oak-resources.ca

Bur Oak Resources offers a wide range of services on renewable resources. The main objective of the company is to provide green technology to customers at reasonable prices.  

The company applies green technology for providing cost-effective solutions to customers, who are specifically want to be part of the “Green Movement.” 

Whether the customers are looking for an off-grid energy solution or a net-metering system, Oak Resources has the experience to their specific needs. The company also provides a financing option for projects between 100kW and 10MW, and at a low rate of 6.99% OAC.

Whether customers want to use free power to offset high daytime demands, or need solar energy for brownfield land, the company can take care of everything.  

Canadian Solar

Website: https://www.canadiansolar.com/

Canadian Solar is one of the largest solar panel manufacturers in the world, not just in Canada, and has business operations in 6 continents.

The company has been in the solar business for more than 18 years, and during this period, it has shipped over 32 GW PV.

The unique selling proposition (USP) of Canadian Solar is that it offers real value by providing high-quality solar panels at affordable rates than most manufacturers.  

The types of solar panels the company offers include shingle mono module (up to 420 W) and bifacial poly PERC module (up to 430 W).  

Key Advantages:

  • Low-cost panels with a better return on investment.
  • Structural product warranty of 10 years.
  • Power production warranty of 97.5% year one and an annual degradation rate of 0.5%.

Overall, Canadian Solar has proved to be a reliable brand over the years.

Gorkon Industries

Website: www.gorkonindustries.com

Gorkon Industries is a well-known name in North America for providing in-house solar photovoltaic design and engineering. 

The complete range of services the company offers are:

Consulting/Project Management: The company can take care of all kinds of solar consulting and project management needs. From doing feasibility studies, equipment design to optimization, the company efficiently manages all the phases.

Development: Gorkon Industries has up-to-date knowledge about the development process of a  solar project. Be it access to capital, FIT/PPA contract applications, and in-house technical expert; they can do it all.

Engineering and Design: The company specializes in solar PV engineering and design. They help customers decide with detailed information about the suitability of installing rooftop or ground-mount system based on space and budget.

EPC and Turnkey Projects: Gorkon Industries executes and delivers a project within the specified time and budget. 

The company also works with industries, government, and universities to stay up-to-date with the latest information and technology.

GP Joule

Website: https://www.gp-joule.com

GP Joule provides a wide range of renewable energy solutions, be it solar, biogas, or other energy sources. 

The company supports its partners in every step of a project, starting from the initial concept to generating clean energy. GP Joule also maintains plant operations by offering a range of professional services. 

GP Joule designs and manufactures PHLEGON® Single-Axis Tracker, which is an intelligent tracking system for PV ground-mount projects following the path of the sun. 

The company works with developers, landowners, contractors, lenders, investors, utility services, business, municipality, and consumers, and provides sustainable energy solutions.  

GP Joule began its international operations in 2011 and has set up offices in California (USA), New York (USA), and Reußenköge (Germany).

Illuma Energy

Website: www.illumaenergy.com

Illuma Energy is located in Kingston, Ontario. The company provides reliable solar energy solutions to residential customers, business owners, and industries.

The company has more than 15 years of experience in solar, biomass, and renewables. It has built solar generation systems in Ontario under the FIT and MicroFIT programs that have provided, clean renewable energy to the province. 

Services Offered:

  • Solar Installation and net-metering
  • Off-Grid system and battery Storage
  • Energy auditing and management Controls

Illuma Energy offers high-quality products that are tested in the harshest conditions. The company offers turn-key installations along with 20 years warranties on all products.

Liveoffgrid

Website: Liveoffgrid.ca 

Liveoffgrid was established on the principle of educating and helping out clients about solar energy systems. 

The company has 4 years’ experience in the solar industry and more than 10 years’ experience in the electrical industry.

Benefits the company offers: 

  • Reasonable pricing and knowledge
  • Troubleshooting
  • Maintenance services
  • Turn-Key from design to production.
  • Integration with existing systems

Liveoffgrid has delivered projects and generated solar energy between .2kw and 12MW.

MiEnergy Inc.

Website: www.mienergy.ca

MiEnergy is one of the largest solar and geothermal energy solutions providers in western Canada. 

The company has more than 16 years’ experience in providing solar and geothermal solutions to over 1,500 residential and commercial clients. It has also provided the following products to communities throughout Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan: 

  • Solar panels for residential customers
  • Solar panels for commercial purpose
  • Solar Panels for communities
  • Solar Panels for farms

By taking services of MiEnergy and investing in solar panels, the residents and business owners of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan have got significant savings each month. 

Despite the continued increase in utility rates, solar panels from MiEnergy can save customers an estimated amount of $14,000 in the first 20 years after installation.

Quadra Power Inc.

Website: www.quadrapower.ca

Quadra Power Inc. has experience of handling more than 200 MW of direct solar power construction projects.

The company also has vast experience in areas such as business, finance, and engineering for its sister company Quadra Solar Corp.

The competence of Quadra revolves around PV installation, and it has been involved in installations of both small and large-scale development projects across Ontario. The company is also in the process of international expansion. 

Range of services:

  • Ground-Mounted Solar
  • Rooftop Solar
  • Community Solar
  • Solar Canopy
  • Energy Storage
  • Wholesale Purchasing

Quadra serves the public sector, utility, business, and residential customers. By partnering with other energy expert companies, Quadra provides a high-level of project development excellence.

Solar EPC Canada

Website: www.solarepc.ca

Solar EPC has been witnessing rapid growth, and it is said to be one of the fastest-growing solar installation companies in Canada. 

According to the company, it takes a positive, honest, and smart approach to its solar PV business. Based on this approach, the company has been able to deploy sustainable and innovative solar energy. 

Solar EPC provides a complete range of services including project engineering, procurement, construction work all over the world. The company works on developmental projects for government, private, and utility grade systems, design layouts, and provides energy solutions. 

When providing renewable energy solutions, the company guides through the entire process: site analysis, system design, installation, and maintenance/monitoring for the life of the system.

Solar Plantation

Website: https://solarplantation.ca

Solar Plantation has comprehensive experience of installing all types of ground-mounted solar systems, including helical piles, concrete piles, driven piles, pole-mounts, and others. 

The company mainly specializes in working with piles and ground-mounted systems and has worked on many projects in Alberta since 2012. 

Currently, Solar Plantation is the only company in Western Canada that owns and uses local pile driving equipment for constructing utility-scale solar PV projects. 

Combining efficient technology, high skill set, and vast experience, the company makes the solar system installation process simpler and better for both residential and commercial consumers. 

Spark Power Corp

Website: https://sparkpowercorp.com

Spark Power Corp. is one of the leading electrical power services and solutions providers. The company has been serving more than 6,500 commercial, industrial, renewable, and agricultural customers as well as utility markets. 

After the implementation of the Green Energy Act in Ontario in 2009, the company has positioned itself as a leader in providing solar-based solutions. It also manages two solar co-operatives, AGRIS Co-op and GECO under long-term contracts.

Services offered:

  • Solar power and electrical
  • Power equipment and controls
  • Operations and maintenance
  • Power advisory and sustainability

Spark Power’s skilled engineering, design, and technical teams deploy complete energy projects and meet the needs of its customers.

Conclusion

Implementing solar energy projects requires skill, experience, and commitment. Renewable energy companies need to focus on all the key areas of solar project construction and development of PV plants

In addition, those companies should have expertise in managing matters related to business, finance, and engineering.

The solar installers listed in this post have been known for their experience, skills, work ethic, and reputation. We will keep updating this list from time-to-time to provide you with unbiased and authentic information on solar energy installers so that you can compare before working with any of these companies. Keep checking our posts!

Related article: Top 10 Technological Breakthroughs in the Solar Industry

Top 10 Solar Asset Management Tools

Managing a renewable energy asset is a critical task, and it involves a lot of things than managing on-site activities. If you are responsible for managing solar assets, you know that you have to toggle between various tasks and coordinate with numerous stakeholders. 

Using an advanced and efficient solar asset management tool can help you centralize data and manage tasks. In this way, you can save a significant amount of time. 

In this post, we will talk about 10 leading solar asset management tools that are specifically designed to manage renewable energy businesses, including solar energy. These tools will make life easier for solar asset managers. Here is the list:

PowerHub Asset Management

PowerHub is a smart asset management software, which is designed for business and financial management. 

This tool is customizable and flexible, and ideal for solar energy professionals to fulfill their requirements such as region-wise data collection.  

PowerHub provides efficiency and insights for faster business growth by centralizing and connecting project information. 

As an asset manager, you can easily configure the software to meet your business needs by gathering all the relevant information whenever you need it. 

Key Features and Benefits

Automated Workflows and Reports: Automated workflows and reports will help you work more efficiently without having to waste time on data tracking. 

Automated Invoicing: Invoicing is a crucial part of any business, and solar companies are no exception. PowerHub simplifies your invoicing process and ensures timely payment. Use the data gathered on the software to generate automated invoices.

Financial Management: Financial management includes budgeting, accounts, billing, and more. You can easily carry out your accounting tasks either on this tool as an alternative to your existing accounting platform. 

Communications and Tracking: You can send, forward, and cc emails using PowerHub. You can also archive your communications for future reference. 

Contract and Compliance Management: Using this software, meeting all the compliance requirements will be easy and timely. You can also check the compliance status of your projects, update procedures, set up processes for auditing, and reply to compliance notices.

Task and Event Management: Manage tasks and events using this software like your asset management assistant. It will help you and your team stay on track about the important tasks. 

Managing Documentation: Find important documents using the software, then manage and collaborate with others by sharing with them. 

Portfolio Management: The software enables you to manage your project portfolio by collating and consolidating project-related data, allocating resources, and doing risk management. 

Operational KPI Tracking: When running a renewable energy project, you can track the key performance indicators (KPIs) via PowerHub. It is way easier to do all the performance tracking using the tool. 

Work Orders: All the aspects of a project in PowerHub are interconnected. Due to this, it is easy to create/manage work orders, monitoring their status, assign to others, and communicating with team members. 

Overall, PowerHub is a flexible tool that can help you do all kinds of tasks seamlessly related to asset management. 

ACTIS 

ACTIS is one of the first solar ERPs in the world. It is a quality tool that helps optimizing Solar PV Performance. The manufacturer of this product is “Alectris.” The company specializes in delivering asset care innovation for the global solar industry. 

This software does much more than the monitoring of daily energy generation. The tool also ensures the optimum performance of a solar plant through various parameters. ACTIS does real-time monitoring of over 70 parameters on individual solar assets in a solar portfolio, regardless of their location. 

The purpose of developing ACTIS is for the following reasons: 

  • Consolidate data from various monitoring systems 
  • Standardize the data alert process 
  • Integrate with accounting software 
  • Customize/design existing and reports for finance and operations.

These benefits result in up to 77% improvement in solar project management and procedures. 

Main Features of ACTIS

  • Monitoring all types of devices such as inverters, trackers, UPS, feeder protectors, meters, strings, temperatures irradiation, and others
  • Collecting data of vast parameters of the equipment operation along with their internal logs
  • Monitoring the quality of the communication network 
  • Monitoring the security system
  • Assessment through comparing data
  • Dashboards with reflecting real-time information about the plant operation and portfolio
  • Complete alerting along with the scope of configuration to even individual string level
  • Availability of more than 35 different customizable charts to analyze technical and financial data.

User Benefits

  • Taking corrective steps via remote diagnosis of any glitch or malfunction and constant alerting
  • Evaluating incident impact and making a cross-comparison by continuous data recording and analysis
  • Improving via root cause analysis
  • Around-the-clock tracking and monitoring of the plant operational data and supervising all equipment and security systems 
  • Integrating all the charts and reports.

So, if you need to optimize solar PV Performance and do complete solar asset management, ACTIS is the go-to tool for that purpose. 

Drive

Drive software has been designed to bridge the gap between critical areas such as operations, technology, and people.

Power Factors created this cloud-based software, which provides owners and operators of solar power facilities complete insight into real-time asset performance. With this function, they can manage applications efficiently to maximize the performance of solar assets. 

Drive is a platform that helps to scale up to thousands of connected facilities. It helps solar facilities owners reduce the levelized cost of energy (LCOE). The range of benefits that the software provides are below:

  • Drive helps in real-time operations and analyze historical performance, root-cause, downtime, and remote technical asset management.
  • The software curates and structures raw data hardware or third-party data systems to make sure that the data is reliable for visual and analytical applications. 
  • Drive is useful for setting user-defined criteria to identify operational events that affect production. Subsequently, users can curate, edit, and catalogue the data for notifying, troubleshooting, and reporting.

Drive has an asset-centric maintenance management system that connects operational events, compliance/contractual obligations, and maintenance history. Also, with the fully integrated data and event engines, operators can manage:

  • Planning and scheduling
  • Dispatching work orders 
  • Managing reports, KPIs, and dashboards
  • Storerooms, inventory management, and spare parts
  • Meeting contractual compliance

Also, the automated workflow and failure categorization feature of Drive helps increase asset life and productivity.

Solar-Log Software

Solar-Log™ offers to products, which are Solar-Log Base and Solar-Log WEB Enerest™ with the purpose of PV monitoring, smart energy, and feed-in management. 

Benefits of Solar-Log Base

  • Easy to Install: The Solar-Log Base is a compact device and easy to install. Handling is even easier. The job of connecting to individual modules is done via an integrated bus system.
  • Innovative direct marketing solutions: Earlier, to transmit data to the direct marketer, an external router was needed. Later, it became possible to make VPN data transfer without any additional hardware. This integration saves the cost of hardware as well as the installation.
  • Installation License: Using the Solar-Log Base devices, it is easy to activate the required licenses free-of-charge during the installation for 30 days. During this period, you can purchase licenses from the License Shop and register remotely. 
  • Optimized Price: Price optimization is a benefit that you can get using the Solar-Log Base regarding various software licenses. The licenses and interface elements can be purchased as and when required. 
  • Easy Modular Design: The easy modular design of the Solar-Log Base offers complete flexibility. It is possible to select each function for each PV plant depending on the requirements. 
  • Smart Energy: Another key benefit of this device is the customized optimization of self-consumption. Through smart interaction with all components in your solar plant, you can achieve higher security and greater return on investment. 

Solar-Log WEB Enerest™ – Online Portal

Benefits of Solar-Log WEB Enerest™

  • High-level Performance to Analyze Errors: Solar-Log WEB Enerest™ has a smart real-time compilation feature to collate relevant individual plant information for analyzing errors. Tools for collecting data include plant processes, component configuration, daily values, and a “heat map.” This enables quicker and easier troubleshooting and ensures the seamless operation of the plant.
  • Easy Administration: By using Solar-Log WEB Enerest™, you can assign a user with individual rights to every solar plant through the User and Plant Management section. It is also possible to assign individual plants to a user group. By clicking on a plant, you can view displays of its properties at a glance. 
  • Improved Task List: The portal will help you categorize tasks based on their status. Red refers to open tasks, yellow is for tasks that are in-progress, and green indicates completed tasks. 

Both Solar-Log Base and Solar-Log WEB Enerest™ have low investment and installation costs. The tools enable the consumption of self-produced solar power, which eliminates the need to buy expensive power from the grid.

3megawatt BluePoint

3megawatt is another well-known solar asset management tool that offers a secure cloud-based solution for managing central data in all stages of the renewable energy life cycle. 

Key Features and Benefits

Plant and Portfolio Management: You can see all the data related to plant or portfolio level data from a centralized source. This is why you will always have a clear tracking of your assets.

Streamlining of Reports: Using the central data and the drag-and-drop report editor, you can easily streamline your reports.

Contracts and Compliance: You will be able to manage your contracts and fix schedules for meeting compliance requirements. 

Centralized Performance Monitoring: Check the data of one or more plants to see their performance using the data sources. 

Automation of Tasks and Work Orders: Create tasks and reduce downtime. Through automation, the tool will help you save time and lower risk. 

Automated Invoicing: Create paperless invoicing using the automated invoice feature. In this way, all of your invoicing data will be at your fingertips. On top of it, invoices will be accurate. 

Easy to Scale a Team’s Capacity: The tool has user analytics, advanced access control settings, audit logs, and multi-language platform to scale up the capacity of a team.

Centralized Financial Management: You can get all the financial solutions such as financial statements and KPIs on a single platform.

3megawatt  software can surely help you scale your renewable energy portfolio.

ENACT Systems 

ENACT is a software that provides a single platform for managing solar projects, including design, financing, and installation. The primary customers of this software are large enterprises in retail, logistics, hospitality, and industrial sectors that seek solar deployment across their portfolio. 

Benefits of ENACT SYSTEMS

Design & Engineering: ENACT provides a platform to analyze any residential or commercial solar plant site remotely. 

You can use remote visual design and drone imaging systems to reduce the inspection time for your project. Also, due to an increase in efficiency, you can create faster proposals reducing sales cycles, overall installation time, and cost of the inspection. 

Feasibility Analysis: You can carry out a feasibility analysis to decide if solar is the right choice for you. By using your location and electricity bill, the software can help you analyze if solar is cost-effective for you. Also, using the system, you can do designing, size Optimization, and rate analysis. 

Installation Management: With the help of ENACT, solar solution providers will find it easy to manage the installation process. You can manage your team’s workflow, third-party vendors, and the progress of a project with a few clicks. 

Finance Management: You can do complete finance management for your solar project. The software will help calculate your investment and ROI before installation or tax benefits after installation. 

Portfolio Management: ENACT helps you get consolidated portfolio management of your project. You can easily track installation progress, system performance, documents, and reporting for various projects. 

Arbox HAP

HAP is a useful software for consolidating and automating commercial, financial, and technical asset management into a centralized platform. 

The centralized financial data repository and an integrated monitoring dashboard ensure the smooth management of your portfolio. 

Benefits of using HAP

Managing Operations: You can smartly manage your work with HAP’s portfolio management feature. Managing documents compliance obligations, tracking tasks, and work orders have never been easier.

Financial Management: Get automated invoices, manage your contracts, profit & loss, budgets, cash flow, all in a single platform by syncing with your accounting software.

Performance Monitoring: Monitor all your solar assets, channels, and devices with the performance dashboard that has an asset registry, KPI modules, multidimensional charts, and alarms.

Report Generation: Generate advanced reports financial and technical performance of all your assets in your portfolio. Make use of the report writer to create your reports.

Using the HAP tool, you can focus on improving and streamlining internal operations in the renewable space.

PredictEnergy®

PredictEnergy® is a cloud-based energy management software that helps in integrating real-time energy data with the facility production metrics.

Energy Monitoring: The software enables us to do energy monitoring. Effective energy monitoring consists of identifying peak demand; single/multiple metering with logical and physical meters; Key-Value Pair (KVP) energy reporting and demand per unit time; and user administration.

Power Quality: Power quality refers to the quality of the power that is supplied to a local utility. Electrical devices need a certain level of voltage, power quality, frequency, and stability for consistent energy supply. PredictEnergy® makes sure to meet all of these parameters. 

Managing Energy Assets: You can manage your energy assets through a systematic process of profiling and evaluating assets to achieve the highest system performance. Also, with the help of this software, you can reduce the maintenance cost. 

Energy Analytics: Through the energy analytics feature, you can:  

  • Manage all your energy assets
  • Measure power and energy against your business and tariff
  • Carry out evaluation of real-time energy, demand cost, and forecasting
  • Analyze unit production energy cost along with comparisons
  • Analyze the actual energy costs of production equipment
  • Control the energy costs of the unit level of your business.

Using PredictEnergy®, you can also track the return on your energy investments and significantly reduce your operational costs.

Ra Power Management (RPM) cloud-based software platform

RPM software will enable you to calculate valuations, make forecasts on cash flow, manage and allocate funds, generate customized reports and analytics, and more.

Key Benefits of Ra Power Management (RPM)

  • Automating all the manual tasks
  • Improving transparency of the project portfolio
  • Reducing the costs of asset management
  • Meeting all the compliance obligations
  • Saving time and minimizing risk.

Forecasting and Modelling: The tool will help you predict projections of seasonal kWh, valuation of assets/funds, forecast cash flow, and manage/structure asset trances.

Real-time Results: Get a real-time display of important information, do value assessment, identify risks, and review compliance requirements.

Asset & Investment Management: Have clear visibility of investments, fund deployment, capital, and covenant compliance. 

Reporting & Analytics: Develop and manage various reports and metrics for analyzing the production, evaluating financial performance, calculating the residual value, and analyzing the stress test scenario. 

Using this tool, you can streamline financial operations and can focus more on efficiently running your business.

LENS™ proprietary cloud-based technology platform 

LENS™ is a software made by RadianGEN. It is a cloud-based platform that has been designed to deliver the best practices of the solar industry to your assets.

By using this software, you can do comprehensive management of your renewable energy assets to deliver optimum results for owners, investors, owners, and developers. 

Key Features of LENS™

  • Monitoring: You can view your asset performance and identify major trends through automated data monitoring and data quality measures.
  • Asset Registry: All of your records related to project or portfolio are maintained in a cloud-based centralized repository.
  • Contract Compliance: You can track all the contractual and regulatory terms with the help of programmed alerts to ensure compliance.
  • Reporting: You can get detailed reports and metrics, make a comparison between forecasts and actual production.

Benefits of LENS™

  • Get clear insights into your portfolio and optimize your assets
  • Reduce contractual and regulatory and compliance risk
  • Implement the industry-specific best practices related to asset management.

So, by using LENS™ software, you can improve and manage the performance of your renewable assets. 

Related article: Digital Marketing Strategy to Generate Solar Leads

Conclusion

As the solar industry is constantly evolving, managing solar assets has become a complex process. Businesses need to make the necessary adjustments to keep up with the changing market conditions to take advantage of growth opportunities. This is why businesses require some advanced tools for effective asset management.

The listed solar asset management tools are tailor-made for solar asset managers to efficiently manage their work and optimize the assets’ financial performance. Additionally, these tools will ensure that you meet all the compliance requirements of the industry. 

Related article: 9 Free Marketing Tools that Solar Installation Companies Can Use


Top 10 Solar Energy Conferences in China

Solar power is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. If we rank solar energy powerhouses in the world, China seems to be leading the way. 

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), China produces more than 60% of solar panels of the total panels made in the world. Also, 7 out of the 11 seven solar panel manufacturers are based in China

China boasts of more solar energy capacity (130 gigawatts) than any other country in the world.

Besides being a leader in the production and consumption of solar power, China also initiates to share knowledge and best practices through global events like solar energy conferences. In 2019, there are as many as 16 energy conferences that are being held in China.

In this post, we have listed the top 10 solar energy conferences in China. Most of these conferences are held either semi-annually and annually. Here is the list: 

International Conference on Power and Renewable Energy

Interest in renewable energy has significantly increased in recent years. Especially, an increasing number of residential and commercial customers are keen to learn about solar energy. 

The International Conference on Power and Renewable Energy (ICPRE) is held in China keeping an objective of spreading words regarding the solar industry. It is an annual conference, and in 2019, the event will take place in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province between Sept. 21 and 23. 

The purpose of organizing ICPRE is to collaborate and assemble scientists, researchers, engineers, and academics in the domain of power and renewable energy from across the world. During the conference, the delegates share their theories, ideas, technological aspects of renewable energy, including solar energy. 

Earlier ICPE successfully organized this conference from 2016 to 2018 in Shanghai, China, Chengdu, China, and Berlin, Germany. In 2019, the conference is back again in Chengdu, in the southwestern province of China.

ICPRE 2019 is expected to be even more successful than its earlier versions by providing a better platform for all the delegates through insightful discussions and by sharing ideas of their research. Due to quality submissions and presentations, ICPRE has already become one of the leading conferences in the area of renewable energy.

The conference will feature keynote speeches, peer-reviews of academic papers, and academic visits. The delegates will have excellent opportunities to exchange new ideas and their experiences of practical application in renewable energy. Also, participants can establish a business network or research relations for future collaboration.

World Solar Congress, Shanghai

World Solar Congress is said to be the world’s one of the major and most participated annual meeting. The conference provides a business platform for discussing topics such as business, government policies, financial, research, and the solar manufacturing industry. 

In 2019, this conference is going to be held in Shanghai from Oct.31 to Nov. 1.

The conference invites researchers, investors, senior government officials, research institutes, and industry leaders from different parts of the world.

World Solar Congress focuses on niche technologies that offer energy solutions along with strategic engagement of internal and external target audiences. Such an initiative ensures that businesses perform even better and take themselves to the next level.

The major topics during the conference will be:

  • Solar Energy Markets and Policies
  • Energy Storage for Heat and Electricity
  • Solar Heating and Cooling Technologies
  • Solar Electricity
  • Solar Architecture and Building Integration
  • Solar Resource Assessment and Energy Meteorology
  • Energy Systems 
  • Off-Grid Energy Access.

Some of the speakers at this conference would be:

  • Dr. Fangdan Jiang, Senior Director Cell R&D, Canadian Solar 
  • Mr. Morgan Kuo, Executive Advisor, Wisolpro Consulting Ltd.  
  • Mr. Jigish Trivedi, First Solar, SVP Technology·        
  • Dr. Xinyu Zhang, R&D Director for Solar Cell, Jinko Solar        
  • Ms. Yali Jiang, Analyst Solar Supply Chain, Bloombergnef        
  • Dr. Rui Sheng, CTO, Microquanta Semiconductor Co Ltd.

AsiaSolar Photovoltaic Innovation & Cooperation Exhibition and Forum 

AsiaSolar Photovoltaic Innovation & Cooperation Exhibition and Forum is an annual exhibition and conference that attracts a large number of PV equipment manufacturing companies and industry entrepreneurs. Besides, manufacturing enterprise, test certification, EPC, investment firms, banks, and insurance companies also take part in the event.

The upcoming date of this conference and exhibition is from Sept. 18-20, 2019 at the Shanghai Convention & Exhibition Center of International Sourcing, Shanghai, China.

This event mainly focuses on the theme of “innovation and cooperation” and exhibits ecological photovoltaic power stations and intelligent/advanced manufacturing process, smart tracking system, micro-grid, and photovoltaic and energy storage systems

During the conference, there will be discussions on a wide range of topics as below: 

  • Improvement of solar thermal power generation technology for bringing down the production cost
  • New policy about the power price of solar thermal power 
  • Innovative technologies and equipment in the field of solar thermal power generation all over the world 
  • The political support regarding the production of solar thermal power.

This particular conference and exhibition have been consistently serving the solar industry by collaborating with industry experts and enterprises for innovative ways of producing and consuming solar energy.

Related article: Top 10 Technological Breakthroughs in the Solar Industry

Photonics For Energy

Photonics for Energy is a conference, which covers basic concepts on renewable energy, applied research of materials and devices for energy harvesting, and storage. This annual conference is scheduled to take place in Wuhan, China, between Nov. 11 and 14, 2019.

The focus area of the conference is to get insights into the significance of optics and photonics in generating and conserving advanced energy, including optical systems issues. 

This conference brings together industry experts from the energy industry to address major obstacles in research and development. The event also explores opportunities to accelerate the impact of optics and photonics on energy technologies.

Other critical topics for discussion would be: 

  • Solar fuel
  • Organic solar cells
  • Perovskite solar cells
  • Lithium-ion batteries and supercapacitors
  • Organic light-emitting diodes
  • Computation, theory, and design of energy materials
  • Polymer substrate and transparent electrodes.

Solar Fuels, Wuhan, Hubei, China

Solar Fuels is a three-day conference that focuses on exploring progress in research related to the production of solar fuels through a series of discussions by leading international scientists. The next meeting will be held in Wuhan, China between Oct. 12 and 14, 2019. 

The world is largely dependent on fossil fuel, and so there is a need for exploring renewable energy sources and flexible energy storage.  

Many experts suggest the solution of producing solar energy through a range of innovative ways. Conferences like this provide a platform for experts for brainstorming and finding cost-effective methods. 

One of the focus points of this conference to establish a stronger connection between fundamental science and application. Particularly, the emphasis is on the future of solar fuel, and the challenges and the development of technologies around it.

By initiating an open forum, the conference encourages the researchers to share their knowledge on various methods to produce renewable solar fuel.

International Photovoltaic Science and Engineering Conference (IPSEC)

The International Photovoltaic Science and Engineering Conference (IPSEC), is another international solar energy conference, which is organized by Shaanxi Normal University. This year’s conference will take place between Nov. 4 and 8, 2019 in Xi’an, China. 

IPSEC is an influential conference in the field of PV, which brings together researchers, industry experts, scientists, academia, and public institutions for lively discussions on PV science and technology. The event provides an excellent opportunity for delegates to connect and find ways of making progress about creating new solar energy systems for society.

During the conference policymakers and commentators get an opportunity to share best practices and solutions of the global solar industry. Also, PV enterprises make presentations about their latest achievements. Besides verbal presentations, there are poster presentations and special activities of displaying notable PV research. 

Chinese Renewable Energy Conference & Exhibition

China Renewable Energy Council organizes the Chinese Renewable Energy Conference & Exhibition. The next event will happen from Nov.7-9, 2019, in Wuxi, China. This event is the first integrative professional conference in Jiangsu province.

In this context, it is worth mentioning that Wuxi is the industrial base of National New Energy and the largest PV production and export base in China. The city’s solar energy base is equipped with advanced technology and has an independent innovation environment. Nearly all the large renewable energy companies have their presence in Wuxi and its surrounding areas.

The conference focuses on solar and other renewable energy sources, new energy vehicles, and other related areas. The event also promotes renewable energy production and application in China, and international exchange/cooperation. 

Through brainstorming sessions, this conference provides an opportunity for the participants to learn about the range of solar products and technology within the realm of the PV industry. 

The topics of discussion during the conference would be:

  • Trends in the Global Emerging Renewable Energy Industry
  • Advanced PV Technology and PV Components Standards
  • The Solution of Renewable Energy’s Application
  • Energy Storage Technology and Market
  • China’s renewable energy policy
  • How to Jointly Develop China Market with international partners
  • Development and Maintenance Service in PV Power Plants
  • How to Get Distributed Generation Resource
  • Financing Modes and Business Innovation for the Renewable Energy Industry
  • Development Trends of New energy vehicles and charging piles.

Also, leading companies will exhibit their range of products and technologies such as photovoltaic power generation systems, photocells, batteries, silicon processing, and more.

The AsiaSolar Photovoltaic Innovation Cooperation Forum & Exhibition 

AsiaSolar PV Innovative Technology Exhibition & Cooperation Forum is another well-known PV conference in the world. The upcoming conference will take place on Oct.12, 2019 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. 

Thousands of industry experts, researchers, senior government officials, senior corporate executives, and solar enterprises participate in this conference and exhibition from all over the world. They discuss on PV installation, PV system design, energy value, PV and storage, and other relevant areas.

The event focuses on innovation and cooperation as the theme where the delegates also talk about establishing healthy photovoltaic power plants and the ways how photovoltaic enterprises reach out to end customers.

Major topics for discussion:

  • Innovative PV technology, product and manufacturing equipment
  • Design construction and management of PV power station
  • Smart grid, micro-grid, and other technologies related to energy
  • PV-related products such as energy storage, inverter, backplane, glass, support, tracker, and tester
  • Investment and financing options for installing PV power stations. 

Besides the conference, this event also includes an exhibition where a large number of PV equipment manufacturing enterprises, EPC, operations and maintenance companies, banks, and insurance companies participate.  

International Conference on Solar Photovoltaic Technology (CSPT), Sanya, China

International Conference on Solar Photovoltaic Technology (CSPT) touch base with several key issues in the solar industry including PV systems, high-efficiency PV cells, PV technology, solar cell materials, and others. The 2019 version of this event will be held from Dec.6-8, 2019 in Sanya, China.

The conference is committed to creating a platform for solar industry professionals, researchers, and various company representatives to present the latest research results. They also share best practices and advanced research methods. 

Some of the conference topics are:

  • High-efficiency PV cells 
  • Photovoltaic technology 
  • Photovoltaic systems 
  • Photovoltaic concentrators 
  • Photovoltaics and electricity 
  • Renewable energy cost 
  • Photovoltaic Energy Conversion
  • Monocrystalline silicon Solar Cells 
  • Polycrystalline silicon Solar Cells 
  • Perovskite solar cell 
  • Silicon thin-film cells
  • Solar Cell Device 

Besides attending the conference, delegates will have an opportunity to take a tour of the beautiful city Sanya, which is known as the “Sunshine City” and “the oriental Hawaii” due to its mesmerizing tropical views. 

International Photovoltaic Power Generation and Smart Energy Exhibition & Conference

International Photovoltaic Power Generation and Smart Energy Exhibition & Conference provides participants with an opportunity to explore the PV manufacturing facilities, PV cells, materials, PV project and system, and PV application products/modules. 

The conference schedule various discussions on a wide range of topics, including the market trends in the PV industry, advanced industry technologies, policy directions of different countries, collaboration and development strategies, and PV finance/investment. 

Conference and Exhibition scope: 

  1. Production Equipment
  2. PV Solar Cells/ Panels 
  3. Components such as solar batteries, controllers, chargers, converters, inverters, data logger, mounting Systems, trackers, and others
  4. Solar Materials including silicon materials, films, wafers, glass, etc. 
  5. Solar Products
  6. PV projects and system integrators.

This conference is an excellent opportunity for people in the solar industry to connect, share ideas, learn about new technologies, and establish a network with researchers, industrial experts, and entrepreneurs.

Related article: Top 36 Biggest Solar Energy Conferences in the World

Conclusion

Solar industry conferences pave the way for executives, entrepreneurs, academics, and researchers to expand their professional horizons. Taking part in such conferences is useful as the attendees share precious ideas, information, and experience.

Nearly all the conferences feature keynote speakers, who are veteran solar industry experts. They deliver inspiring speeches on a range of topics. Participants have a great learning experience by connective and discussing with other experts in the solar industry, who may turn out to be long-time friends or business partners. 

Conferences like these have uplifted the career of many energy professionals. So, check out the dates of the listed conferences, and make sure to attend at least some of them. It will yield fruitful results in the long run.

Related article: Top 15 Solar Energy Trade Shows in China


Top 10 Technological Breakthroughs in the Solar Industry 2019

Did you know that nearly 173,000 terawatts of solar energy hit the earth continuously? It is more than 10,000 times the total energy usage in the world?

Yes, that is what sunlight does every day, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration!

Generally, we do not take things seriously that are abundant, and the sunlight is one of them. However, considering the current trend, it seems that our future lies in finding more alternative energy like solar energy.

In 1954, Bell Laboratories developed the first silicon solar cell. That innovation triggered a series of discoveries in the solar energy domain.

The space industry was the first to have started using solar technology in the 1960s to generate power for spacecraft. Solar cells powered the Vanguard 1, which was the first artificial earth satellite. It remained the oldest event of manmade satellite in orbit and logged a whopping 6 billion miles.

These days some innovators have come up with technologies that will most likely change our future in terms of how we get energy. 

Many of these technologies can convert sunlight into heat energy, that can be further converted into electricity.

In this post, let us look into 10 technological breakthroughs in the solar industry that will redefine the future of energy. Let us take a look at the list:

 

Photovoltaic (PV)

When Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect in 1839, who would have imagined that it will become one of the primary technologies for generating solar energy in the 21st century.

Alexandre decoded the photovoltaic effect, or how to create an electrical current in a conductor that gets direct sunlight.

Later, scientists carried out more advanced research to use the PV technology that can directly produce electricity. Now, it is possible to use, store, or convert the electricity for long-distance transmission. 

In simple words, PV devices are capable of converting sunlight into electrical energy. A single PV device is called a “cell.” PV cells are usually made from various types of silicon.

Generally, a single PV cell is small, and can typically produce around 1 or 2 watts of power. To increase the output of PV cells, then those cells are tied to chains to form larger units that are known these days as “modules” or “panels.” 

It is possible to use modules or panels individually or to connect several of them to form arrays. One or multiple arrays are connected to the electrical grid to complete a PV system.

In the current day, solar PV is mainly installed on rooftops at homes and businesses, and it directly generates electricity from solar energy. Solar thermal technologies convert the sun’s energy to generate heat, which further generates electricity.

 

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP)

Concentrating Solar Power or CSP got its name as the technology concentrates sunlight to generate thermal energy, which is then used to generate electricity.

It means the CSP technology uses focused sunlight. The system generates electric power by using mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy and convert it into heat. 

Subsequently, the heat goes through a traditional generator. The system comprises two parts: the first part collects solar energy and converts it into heat, and the second part converts the heat energy into electricity.

This technology takes three alternative technological approaches: trough systems, power tower systems, and dish/engine systems.

We can use CSP solar power systems for providing power to villages (10 kilowatts) or through grid-connected applications (up to 100 megawatts). Some systems use thermal storage during cloudy days or at night. 

These features, coupled with record solar-to-electric conversion efficiencies, make CSP technology an attractive renewable energy option, particularly in the Southwest and other sunbelt regions in the world.  

If we take the example of the US, CSP plants have been in use for more than a decade. The optimum use of CSP technology needs wide areas for collecting solar radiation to produce electricity at a commercial level.

Related article: Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Vs Photovoltaic (PV): An In-depth Comparison

 

Solar Heating & Cooling (SHC)

The Solar Heating & Cooling (SHC) technology generates thermal energy (heat) for pool and space heating. 

It is, however, interesting to know that that SHC technology can be used for cooling as well.

So, how SHC technology works?

It collects the thermal energy from the sun and uses the heat to provide hot water, pool heating, cooling, and space heating for residential, commercial, and industrial users. 

Particularly, solar heating systems are economical for residential users. They are likely to get ROI between 3 and 6 years. In the case of commercial usage, these can companies to lower energy bills and to manage long-term overhead costs.

These days, many companies across the world are manufacturing and installing SHC systems that significantly reduce dependency on imported fuels. 

The US has produced substantial SHC installations since 2010, where the systems covered between 10,000 and 50,000 ft on a single installed wall. It has opened up a large-scale opportunity to address the ventilation or space heating issue.

 

MIT-invented Transparent, flexible solar cells using Graphene

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have invented transparent and flexible graphene-based solar cells. It is feasible to mount those cells on different surfaces such as glass, plastic, tape, and paper. 

The MIT researchers made a comparison of their graphene electrode solar cells with other solar cells made from regular materials such as indium tin oxide (ITO) and aluminum. 

The experiment showed that the power conversion efficiency (PCE) of the new solar cells was significantly lower than regular solar panels. However, those cells are way better than earlier transparent solar cells. This is progress for sure. 

Now, we can imagine a future where solar cells could be everywhere — on walls, windows, mobile phones, laptops, and more. 

This progress in solar technology has been possible by a method of depositing a one-atom-thick layer of graphene onto the solar cell. 

The ability to use graphene is making it possible to get flexible, low-cost, and transparent solar cells that can turn any surface into a source of electric power!

 

Simple Planar Optical Technology (SPOTlight) by Canadian inventor John Paul Morgan

Toronto-based John Paul Morgan, a Canadian inventor, has made himself counted among one of the top innovators of the latest solar technologies, called Simple Planar Optical Technology (SPOTlight).

According to Morgan, this technology can transform “found spaces” in urban areas into renewable energy sources. 

A few examples of found spaces are:

 

  • Blinds
  • Building materials
  • Curtain walls
  • Canopies
  • Skylights
  • Windows.

Also, the translucent PV sunshades can blend with the designed elements in an aesthetic environment. 

SPOTlight targets customers, who want to visibly improve their energy sustainability. Also, coloured LEDs can be programmed and easily integrated to turn the solar panels into a light source and digital display.

The main advantages of this technology are: 

 

  • The ability to capture thermal energy and using it to heat or cool the interior space. 
  • Improving workplace productivity and 
  • Saving electricity.

Morgan and his company have developed optics that are in the panel, and they are paper-thin. Thick panels need more raw material and can be expensive. With this innovation, the solar industry is heading to a future where the cost of energy may come down to almost zero.

 

Floating Panels/Floating Solar Farms

In many countries across the world, there is not enough space to install ground-mount solar systems. Authorities in these countries, often look for alternative ecological solutions.

Keeping this problem in mind, a French company Ciel & Terre International has been producing floating solar systems since 2011. 

The company manufactures hydrelio floating PV system that allows installing standard PV panels on large water bodies. It is possible to install the system on quarry lakes, drinking water reservoirs, tailing ponds, irrigation canals, and hydroelectric dam reservoirs.

This technology is a simple and affordable alternative to ground-mounted solar systems, and especially suitable for water-intensive industries that strictly avoid wasting either land or water.

According to the company, the system is easy to install and dismantle and can be adjusted with any electrical configuration. It is also scalable from low- to high-power generation without any tools or heavy equipment. In addition, the system is eco-friendly, recyclable, and cost-effective.

As of now, the system has been installed in the UK. The company is also set to work on deploying floating solar farms in countries such as India, Japan, and France.

 

Transparent Solar Cells that could power Mobile phones and Skyscrapers

MIT scientists have made transparent solar cells that could make ordinary items, such as windows and electronic gadgets, generate their own power.

These solar cells have the ability to absorb infrared and ultraviolet light only. Visible light goes through the cells without any obstruction, and that is why human eyes do not know about its existence. 

This new solar transparent PV technology is capable of keeping up with today’s solar cells, unlike other technologies due to their deployment methods. 

Ubiquitous Energy, a startup company in Silicon Valley has successfully created transparent solar cells. They have made these cells using organic chemistry. Organic solar takes a lesser manufacturing cost compared to conventional silicon solar panels.

In the future, the company can use these invisible solar cells to provide electricity to the high-rise buildings. ClearView Power Technology that the company uses is a solar cell that can be used to coat windows and displays. Subsequently, the system can help them harvest artificial light and produce electricity.

 

Flexible Parylene-based Solar cells as light as a soap bubble

MIT scientists are at it again! This time they have come up with a technology that has the most lightweight and thinnest solar cells ever made. 

During the initial experiment, the researchers used parylene, which is a regular flexible polymer and Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), organic material as the main layer for absorbing light. 

Unlike traditional cell manufacturing, this process is carried out in a vacuum chamber at room temperature, and without using any harsh chemicals. By using vapour deposition techniques for heat, pressure, and chemical reactions, the researchers have created an ultra-thin coating of a particular material. 

The ultra-thin cells have just 1/50th thickness of a human hair and 1/1000th of the thickness of existing glass-based cells. However, the cells have the ability to convert sunlight into electricity.

Parylene is a plastic coating that is commercially available and widely used for purposes such as protecting printed circuit boards and implanted biomedical devices from environmental damage. 

 

Bacteria-powered Solar Cell that can function even under overcast skies

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed an inexpensive and sustainable way to build solar cells using a type of bacteria that is capable of converting light into energy.

Initial testing shows that the cells can work efficiently both in dim and bright light. These cells can generate solar power even under cloudy skies. Moreover, the cells can generate a current that is stronger than any such instance recorded from a similar device.

This technology is suitable to deploy in areas like Canada and Northern Europe that often have cloudy skies. Other environments, including deep-sea, and mines, could also be considered for implementation.

This innovation may have taken a great stride toward wider adoption of solar power in areas like British Columbia and parts of northern Europe where cloudy skies are common. 

 

Solar Panels with Graphene coating that generates Electricity from Rain Drops by China

Finally, the last in our list and perhaps the most innovative one is a technology developed by scientists from China. They have created a new type of solar panel that is capable of generating electricity from raindrops!

By applying a thin layer of graphene, the solar panel can effectively produce power from rain.  

The raindrops contain salt, which splits into ions — sodium, calcium, and ammonium —  making graphene and water a suitable combination for producing energy. 

The thin layers that scientists energy use have variance between them and this variance are strong enough to generate electricity. 

If we go by the scientists’ opinion, this new technology could lead to designing advanced all-weather solar cells.

 

Closing Words

No one can deny the fact that our current ways of producing energy need an overhaul for various reasons. 

The first major reason is traditional energy sources have limited supply such as petroleum and other fossil fuel. Besides, many countries are still dependent on foreign oil and coal supplies.

The second reason is all of the conventional energy systems release greenhouse gases and other pollutants that have serious health hazards.

This is why innovative technologies listed in this post, starting from PV, floating solar farms to graphene-coated solar panels can provide great solutions to our energy-deficiency.

These technologies can bring solar energy close to both residential and commercial users by bringing down the price. Due to this reason alone, solar energy is increasingly becoming an economical energy option for homeowners and businesses. 

There are still obstacles in many countries because of unfavourable or lack of solar policies, and also soft cost issues such as zoning, permitting, and installing a power grid. Overcoming these issues will make solar energy a mainstream and affordable option. The silver lining is that things are already moving toward a positive direction. 

Related article: Top Solar Statistics You Need to Know in 2019


Archived news

The 10 Biggest Renewable Energy Breakthroughs of 2010

With our planet in a desperate need of new eco-friendly energygenerating systems, researchers over the globe have been working hard to develop systems that can power the world of the future in a sustainable fashion. The year 2010 saw some great breakthroughs in the field ofrenewable energy technology, which when fully developed, could helpcreate a better world. Here we have compiled a list of 10 suchbreakthroughs that are bound to have a significant impact in the future.

• IBM’s solar cell created from “earth abundant” materials

Researchers at IBM created an inexpensive solar cell from materials that are dirt cheap and easily available. The layer that absorbs sunlight and converts it intoelectricity is made with copper, tin, zinc, sulfur and selenium. Thebest part of the solar cell is that it still manages to hit anefficiency of 9.6 percent, which is much higher than earlier attempts to make solar panels using similar materials.

• MIT’s Concentrated Solar Funnel

A group of researchers at MIT devised a way to collect solar energy 100 times more concentrated than atraditional photovoltaic cell. The system could drastically alter howsolar energy is collected in the near future as there will no longer be a need to build massive solar arrays to generate large amounts of power.The research work conducted has determined that carbon nanotubes will be the primary instrument used in capturing and focusing light energy,allowing for not just smaller, but more powerful solar arrays.

• Wake Forest University’s Light Pipes

Researchers at the Wake Forest University in North Carolina made a breakthrough by developing organic solar cells with a layer of optical fiberbristles that doubles the performance of the cells in tests. Theprototype solar cell has been developed by David Carroll, who is thechief scientist at a spin-off company called FiberCell. The problem with standard flat panels is that some sunlight is lost through reflection.To reduce this effect, the research team took a dramatic approach bystamping optical fibers onto a polymer substrate that forms thefoundation of the cell. These fibers, dubbed the “Light Pipes,” aresurrounded by thin organic solar cells applied using a dip-coatingprocess, and a light absorbing dye or polymer is also sprayed onto thesurface. Light can enter the tip of a fiber at any angle. Photons thenbounce around inside the fiber until they are absorbed by thesurrounding organic cell.

• Louisiana Tech University’s CNF-PZT Cantilever

Created by a research team at Louisiana Tech University, the CNF-PZT Cantilever is abreakthrough energy harvesting device, which utilizes waste heat energyfrom electronic gadgets to power them. The device features the use of acarbon nanotube on a cantilever base of piezoelectric materials. Thecarbon nanotube film absorbs heat and forces the piezoelectriccantilever to bend, which then generates an electric current in thematerial. The device is so small that thousands of small CNF-PZTCantilever devices can be designed into devices, allowing them toharvest their own wasted energy.

• New Energy Technologies’ see-through glass SolarWindow

New Energy Technologies developed a working prototype of the world’s first glass window capable ofgenerating electricity. Until now, solar panels have remained opaque,with the prospect of creating a see-through glass window capable ofgenerating electricity limited by the use of metals and other expensiveprocesses, which block visibility and prevent light from passing through glass surfaces. The technology has been made possible by making use ofthe world’s smallest working organic solar cells, developed by Dr.Xiaomei Jiang at the University of South Florida. Unlike conventionalsolar systems, New Energy’s solar cells generate electricity from bothnatural and artificial light sources, outperforming today’s commercialsolar and thin-film technologies by as much as 10-fold.

• Purdue University’s system to harvest heat from car’s exhaust

Researchers at Purdue University created a system that harvests heat from a car’s exhaust in order to generateelectricity and reduce the vehicle’s fuel consumption. The systemconverts waste heat into electricity, which is then fed into thevehicle’s onboard batteries to reduce engine load and fuel consumption.

• Innowattech’s Piezoelectric IPEG PAD

Innowattech recently created piezoelectric generators that can be used as normalrail pads, but generate renewable energy whenever trains pass on them.The company tested the technology by replacing 32 railway pads with newIPEG PADs, where the pads were able to generate enough renewableelectricity to determine the number of wheels, weight of each wheel andthe wheel’s position. In addition the speed of the train and wheeldiameter could also be calculated. The company states that areas ofrailway track that get between 10 and 20 ten-car trains an hour can beused to produce up to 120KWh of renewable electricity per hour, whichcan be used by the railways or transferred to the grid.

• Sony’s Flower Power

Sony recently demonstrated new DSSC’s for energy generating windows, which help beautify your home as well. The beautifully designed solar panels make use of screenprinting to generate custom designs according to the consumer’spreferences. The panels can be developed in any color that the userspecifies.

• Plant mimicking machine produces fuels using solar energy

A team of researchers in the US and Switzerland have created a machine that like plants uses solar energy to produce fuels, which can later be used in different ways. The machine makes use of the sun’s rays and ametal oxide called ceria to break down carbon dioxide or water in fuelsthat can be stored and transported. Unlike solar panels, which work only during the day, this new machine is designed to store energy for lateruse.

• CSIRO’s Brayton Cycle Project

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, developed a technology that requires only sunlight and air to generateelectricity. The system is ideal for areas that face acute watershortages. The solar Brayton Cycle project replaces use of concentratedsun rays to heat water into high-pressure steam to drive a turbine withsolar energy to create a solar thermal field. The technology focuses the sun’s rays projected onto a field of mirrors knows as heliostats onto a 30-meter (98 ft) high solar tower to heat compressed air, whichsubsequently expands to through a 200kW turbine to generate electricity.

 

Top 10 Solar Panel Arts: Solar Doesn’t Need to be Boring

Did you know that solar panels can be converted into an art form, just like canvasses where artists draw colourful and stunning images?

Interesting, right?

Generally, when we talk about solar panels, those boring rectangular roof-mounted PV solar panels pop up in our minds.

Things have, however, changed in recent years by some creative minds, through ground-breaking creative work and have given solar panels touch of their paintbrush.

Re-imagining solar panels as a contemporary art form have taken strides since the concept of the Land Art Generator Initiative in 2008.

In 2017, the Beam magazine in Berlin collaborated with the Street Art Berlin and the Little Sun Foundation and launched a unique Art Series. 

Three Images of Solar Panel Canvases from 2017 Art Series (Source: Beam Magazine)

It was the first art exhibit of painted solar PV panels in the international arena. More than 40 artists and designers from different parts of the world took part in the art series, and created artworks using recycled solar panels as their canvas! 

In this post, we will talk about 10 creative solar panels that have taken this art form to another level.

Related article: Top Solar Statistics You Need to Know in 2019

ColorBlast 

The first in the list, ColorBlast solar panels are truly a riot of colours!

These solar panels are the handy work of the Netherlands-based company KameleonSolar. The company applies a ceramic printing technique on the face of the module glass that allows sunlight gets through to the solar cells.

The solar modules offer freedom of design when making solar façades that look like architectural beauties. 

Even customers can provide design ideas using a wide range of colours, their own print, and in nearly any shape or size.

The features of ColorBlast panels:

  • High level of light transmittance
  • The images and patterns can be printed in colour
  • Mixing of colours is possible on demand
  • The cells appear invisible from a distance of 5 meters
  • Darker colours deliver higher performance than lighter colours
  • Larger solar modules are available on request
  • Designs can be spread over multiple panels
  • The company provides 50 years’ guarantee for colorfastness, 30 years for linear performance, and 20 years for product.

Overall, the company is one of the pioneers in making hi-tech and aesthetic customizable solar panels.

Organic Photovoltaic Thin Film (OPV)

Organic photovoltaic (OPV) solar panels have made their mark in recent years due to their potential of providing low-cost solar along with colourful design. 

By applying the fundamental photovoltaic processes in organic electronic materials and developing customized materials and device architectures, companies are producing these solar panels. 

In recent times, there has been an increased efficiency of OPV devices to more than 10% that has triggered huge commercial interests that are opening up opportunities for further development and manufacturing. 

Heliatek, a Germany-based company, is a leading producer of organic photovoltaic (OPV) thin-film solar panels. 

Recently, the company has launched an international advertising campaign, called Solar Graffiti, featuring an installation on a sports field near Mexico City. The project combined the graffiti art of the local Street Artists N3O using Heliatek’s solar films to provide power to the lighting system of the sports field.

Projects like this are unique and path-breaking as they have combined new technologies along with the work of a street artist. 

OPV solar panels are flexible, lightweight, and easy to install. The thin films blend perfectly with the art landscape to provide users with a permanent and useful energy solution. 

Invent

Invent is an Italian company that produces photovoltaic modules that are both energy-efficient and beautiful. 

The company vouches for the quality of the modules. According to them, the modules will not create any problem for customers even at the end of their lifespan, because Invent is a member of PV Cycle.

By applying their InvisibleCell® technology, Invent makes the electrical connections of the modules invisible and transforms the panels to appear aesthetically pleasing with an elegant and modern design.

When producing these modules, the company makes small variations in the pattern of the glass that can create any grayscale patterns. Panels can function together to form larger compositions.

The company has won several prizes for its photovoltaic modules, including the Premio Impresa Ambiente for designing the TechTile System. It is a unique photovoltaic roof tile that can be perfectly positioned on the roof of homes.

Kromatix Solar Panel

Kromatix™ solar glass is a creation of SwissINSO. These are custom colour-treated glasses face laminate used during the process of solar module production.

The solar panels both enhances the overall efficiency of Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) and the aesthetics of buildings. 

The company applies a complex nanoscale multilayer deposition by plasma processes to get the colour. They use highly efficient and environment-friendly nanotechnology surface treatments to get structural colours. Those colours are in blue, orange, grey, bronze, blue-green, and brass. 

Kromatix™ panels can be used in any PV panels or over flat solar thermal modules. Builders, architects, and system integrators now have unlimited aesthetic considerations when integrating solar technology. 

As a result of such integrations, Kromatix™ panels have significantly increased the total available surface area for solar panels on buildings (BIPV). It has further improved the energy-efficiency of buildings and overall return on investment.  

The company’s vision is to deploy solar energy in all buildings to combat global warming and take steps towards a sustainable future.

Some of the great examples of impressive Kromatix solar panel installation are: 

  • The Copenhagen International School in Copenhagen, Denmark 
  • Festo Office Building in Esslingen am Neckar, Germany
  • Bornholms Hospital in Rønne, Denmark 
  • Rise Institute in Borås, Sweden.

Solaxess 

Solaxess is a Switzerland-based company that makes solar films using nanotechnology. It is called “White Solar Technology.”

Installing these solar panels makes it possible to transform any exterior building surface into a solar power generator. The white finish panels can generate electricity from standard solar panels hidden behind the custom Solaxess laminate.

These panels can help architects, installers, project owners, and promoters to integrate with their solar projects. It is possible to integrate these panels into a new module during their assembly, on curved, flat, or pliable surfaces.

Also, it is possible to change the colours of the existing panels for customized looks, if required. In this way, the solar panels have not only become an energy-efficient energy source but also prove to be perfectly aesthetic.

Dutch Solar Design Photovoltaics

In the current scenario, it is the need-of-the-hour to have a more sustainable energy solution that is environment-friendly, smart, and cost-efficient. 

That is why Dutch Solar Design has developed Dutch Solar Design Photovoltaic (DSD-PV) solar modules that are high-tech, efficient, accessible, and attractive. Moreover, these panels offer unlimited aesthetic possibilities.

DSD-PV is a kind of applied solar film that can be printed with any image. The company specializes in building textures that make it possible for the solar modules to be almost invisible and blend in the building’s outward appearance. 

Dutch Solar Design has developed an advanced technique to integrate a full colour, durable print into a facade panel with integrated PV-cells. Subsequently, the desired image or design is processed using an algorithm, which determines an optimum level between minimal surface coverage and the maximal optical effect.

The customized prints have been created in such a way that they blend in the human eye, and create a subtle optical illusion. Also, depending on specific colours and desired opacity, the applied ink can allow a significant amount of sunlight to reach the PV-surface under the print as well. 

These solar panels are what we can call is producing renewable energy along with creative freedom and artistic expression.

Monocrystalline Silicon and Thin Films

Monocrystalline silicon or Mono-Si solar panels can easily be recognized due to their even external colouring and uniform look, which indicate high-purity silicon.

Solar modules that are made from high-quality thin-film crystalline-silicon layers could substantially bring down the price of PV electricity. 

Monocrystalline solar panels have a very high level of efficiency as they are made with the highest-grade silicon. The efficiency rates of these solar panels are somewhere between 15 and 20%. One of the leading producers of this type of solar panel is SunPower in the US. 

Besides the high-efficiency rate, Monocrystalline silicon solar panels are space-efficient as well. These solar panels need the least space to produce the highest power outputs compared to other types of panels. For example, Monocrystalline solar panels can produce up to four times the electricity compared to thin-film solar panels.

Most Monocrystalline solar panel manufacturers provide a 25-year warranty on their solar panels as they have the longest duration. 

Monocrystalline solar panels are, however, the most expensive. Due to this, many homeowners prefer a cheaper option like polycrystalline silicon solar panels.  

Kaleo

Kaleo in Neuchâtel, Switzerland has developed a printed solar film that applies to the surface of a solar module. The colourful and glossy look of the panels makes them ideal photographic elements. 

These wonderful solar modules for producing solar electricity seem to be completely invisible and will fascinate you with their mesmerizing artwork.

The company has developed a technology to enhance the range of architectural materials and blending it with a sustainable photovoltaic solution. So, Kaleo has brought a solution to the environment by combining solar energy and art.

Currently, the company has started a project called KALEO to produce solar modules using high-resolution images. This ambitious project also aims to turn the photovoltaic panel into a solar pixel. 

In addition to the technological nuances, KALEO has initiated to raise awareness among the general public about using solar panels as solar envelope or communication support, besides being an energy-efficient tool.

These panels will be about new perspectives, new useful applications, and expanding the architectural horizons. Kaleo panels will allow integrating solar energy into our urban landscape, and at the same time, will constantly evolve to reveal its true potential.

Sistine Solar

Sistine Solar from Massachusetts, USA manufactures solar films called SolarSkin, on which it is possible to print any graphic.

SolarSkin is the creation by the engineers of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). These solar films are coated with durable graphics and have been integrated into high energy-efficient solar panels. 

The solar films allow nearly all of the sunlight to get absorbed by the solar cells to produce electricity. These have been marketed as integration of solar panels on rooftops and full-scale printed images in a disguised way.  

It would be interesting to mention that Sistine Solar has the credit for installing the world’s first Solar Mural in San Antonio in 2017. San Antonio-based artist Cruz Ortiz designed the La Monarca image and directed by Penelope Boyer. 

When it comes to producing these solar films, Sistine Solar applies advanced algorithms and proprietary techniques. 

Subsequently, they combine cognitive sciences, colour theory, and human visual perception. Combining all of these results in ultra-durable solar films that can last long even in extreme conditions.

Features of SolarSkin:

  • Great ability to retain colour
  • Long-lasting
  • ​Excellent long-term adhesion
  • Almost zero power loss
  • Advanced UV testing for colour durability
  • Damp-heat tested under 85°C and 85% humidity
  • Rapid temperature testing for multiple temperature fluctuations. 

Tesla Solar Roof Tiles 

Tesla has brought solar roof tiles into the market with the purpose of complementing the architecture of homes along with converting sunlight into electricity.

Tesla roof tiles are installed in a way that sunlight gets direct access to solar cells. Also, different angles work like a lenticular image to give one graphical view from a specific angle and another graphical view from a different angle. 

These solar tiles have an integrated Powerwall battery, through which the cells collect energy throughout the day, store the energy so that the energy is available at any time. 

The company claims that solar glass tiles are extremely durable, there is a warranty for the lifetime of a house or infinity, whichever comes first. Interesting, isn’t it?

Tesla solar panels blend with a roof’s front, and there will be no visible mounting hardware. So, the roof gets a flawless appearance. 

Related article: Top 9 Solar Roof Shingles Brands

Closing Words

In recent times, there have been initiatives to blend solar energy with creativity, and the results are fascinating! Companies that adopted this concept have come up with lamination glass, solar module technology, and thin solar films that are defining aesthetics in a whole new way. 

The solar panels and their manufacturers listed in this post have done some great work and generating interest among end-consumers and solar installers. Some of the products are already out on the market and have created their special niche. 

As the global energy transition spreading across the world, these art forms of solar panels will ensure both energy-efficiency and beautification of large and small cities. If more companies and artists collaborate to roll out innovative solar projects, it will bring about a wave of integration of solar panels and artistic canvas. 

Let us know how you feel about the post. Your feedback will encourage us to come up with more interesting topics like this. 

Related article: Top 10 Technological Breakthroughs in the Solar Industry

Solar Power Statistics in Canada 2019


The Solar Energy Market in Canada

The solar energy industry is having rapid growth in Canada. 

Notably, solar energy in the country has been 20%, which totals 1,804 MW. The largest solar facility is the Loyalist Solar Project with 54 MW capacity, which is undergoing construction in Ontario. 

Canada has substantial solar energy resources due to its vast area. So far, the most valuable resources have been found in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. 

The latitude of Canada, however, causes a relatively low-level of solar irradiance (solar power per unit area). This reason, along with cloud cover, results in a 6% capacity factor, which is much lower compared to a 15% capacity factor in the United States. 

The northern territories in the country have a relatively lower solar potential and get less direct sunlight due to their even higher latitude. According to the National Energy Board’s prediction, solar electricity will account for 1.2% of Canada’s total energy by 2040.

Fig.1: State-wise Solar Energy Capacity in Canada  (Source: energyhub.org)

Particularly, the solar electricity market has grown quite fast. Since 2013; nearly 2,000 MW of capacity has been added in Canada. 

Fig.2: Solar Electricity Capacity in Canada (Source: cansia.ca)

Currently, more than 98% of Canada’s solar power generation capacity is in Ontario, as the province has developed a solar market that is recognized in the world. 

In fact, globally, Ontario is one of the top 20 solar electricity markets based on solar installation capacity.

Commercial Viability of Solar Energy in Canada

A recent report by the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA), Solar Vision 2020, has looked into various scenarios for commercial use of solar technology. Commercially, the adoption of solar technology has not been as expected. 

The surge in the commercial solar sector in Canada over the coming decade will depend on a wide range of variables such as financial support to technology, costs, and infrastructure requirements. 

If all the plans fall into place, solar energy may account for 20% of the new electricity supply source in the next 20 years. 

As mentioned earlier in this post, the efficiency and competitiveness of solar power generation in Canada depends on its geographic location. It is because the power price range can vary widely between the 10 provinces and the three territories, according to a report by the Canadian National Energy Board.

The local electricity prices largely determine the competitiveness of solar power in a province than the amount of sunlight received. This factor remains static even if local breakeven prices are among the lowest in the country. 

       Fig.3:  Solar Energy Incentives in different Canadian provinces (Source: energyhub.org)

An example of how pricing can vary shows in residential energy charges, which may range from CA$0.068/kWh in Quebec, to $0.167/kWh in Saskatchewan. The reason being the cost in each province related to production or import power, transmitting the energy across large areas, and eventually distributing to residential customers are drastically different.

When it comes to residential solar breakevens, Alberta province has the lowest in Canada. However, because of its current low power prices, it makes more financial sense for the province to purchase electricity from a solar distributor than deploying a solar project. 

Among other regions, the Northwest Territory and Nunavut have competitive solar breakevens compared with relatively high local electricity prices. The pricing has been high as it is expensive to produce electricity in remote areas that depend on diesel.

The rating of solar panels is typically based on their peak power output, which means the maximum amount of power that solar panels can produce under ideal conditions. 

It also depends on the size of the panels, and the size is between 250 and 400 Watts for most commercially available panels. A higher power rating of the panel indicates that you will need fewer panels to offset your energy usage.

Overall, Canada has a bright future ahead when it comes to solar energy. According to the National Energy Board, solar energy has the potential to become a more valuable option. Particularly, in the likely scenario when the energy pricing can be 19.1% higher than current prices in 10 years, and 47.75% costlier than current prices in 25 years.

Canadian Solar Industry compared with the Global Growth

In the global context, currently, solar electricity is the fastest-growing energy source. 

According to a forecast by the International Energy Agency (IEA), that by 2050, solar electricity could account for 27% of the global electricity mix. Thus it may become the largest source of electricity in the world. 

According to CanSIA, solar electricity is likely to be a mainstream energy source in Canada as part of the country’s diversified electricity mix.

By 2020, solar electricity in Canada is expected to:

  • Produce nearly 1% of the total electricity generation, with having almost 6,300 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity. 
  • Create roughly 65,000 jobs annually, employing a labour force of nearly 10,000 people per year. The primary sectors of employment will be construction, manufacturing, operations, and maintenance.
  • Reduce nearly 1.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually, which is equivalent to removing 250,000 cars and trucks off the road every year.  

The solar electricity industry can be sustainable and commercially viable without direct subsidies and operating in a supportive environment and with favourable regulatory policy. 

Worldwide vs. Canada: Capacity of Solar PV – 505 GW (in 2018)

Fig 4: Canada’s Solar Capacity compared with the top nations (Source: www.nrcan.gc.ca)  

Compared with the leading solar energy-producing countries in the world, currently, Canada does not have any solar electricity policy at the federal level. By rolling out a favourable federal solar electricity policy can provide excellent opportunities to Canada’s solar energy industry.

A solar electricity policy, if implemented, could create a framework to open up new markets all over Canada. The foundation will be even more consolidated with the implementation of provincial /territorial solar policy to support the federal policy. 

Solar PV in Canada

Currently, Canada is among the top 10 countries globally in terms of having a total installed solar PV. The country’s solar capacity is estimated to reach around 2GW very soon. 

Recently, Canada has added nearly 444MW of PV, which about a 58% increase compared to the growth in 2012. It is also a cumulative growth of 1.2GW, which is double the capacity compared to previous years, and the extremely low solar capacity of 33MW in 2009.

As mentioned earlier, most of the solar capacity in Canada is centred in Ontario. In 2018, the capacity of the Canadian solar photovoltaic industry was 3,040 MW.

Fig 5: Installed Capacity of Solar PV – Canada (Source: nrcan.gc.ca)

Among other provinces, British Columbia is set to have the largest PV plant. The international contractor, Conergy, will manage the SunMine project in Kimberley with the capacity of 1.05MW. 

Also, solar energy is making its way into the minor markets in Canada. Manitoba and Saskatchewan both have implemented solar net metering programs. The capacity of the program in Manitoba will be 10MW. Net metering is aLso available in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

There are major success stories like the small town Raymond in southern Alberta being 100% solar reliant. 

Also, solar PV is reaching to rural and remote areas. For example, in Vancouver Island, BC, the T’Sou-ke First Nation aboriginal community that began building solar PV in 2009, has now more than 400 rooftop PV solar panels. It is the largest instance of solar installation in the province, which during the peak operation, can produce up to 90% of the total community’s power. 

Solar PV Installers in Canada

The Directory of Solar Companies in Canada has listed 836 solar installers in the country. These companies undertake solar panel installation, including standalone and rooftop solar systems. 

The solar installations are both on-grid and off-grid. On-Grid Systems are solar PV systems that can produce power only when they are connected to the utility power grid. 

Off-grid systems, on the other hand, allow to store solar energy in solar batteries for later use if the utility power grid does not function or someone is not operating the grid. 

The statistics below show the demand for solar photovoltaic (PV) power in Canada between 2009 to 2014, along with a forecast for 2015 to 2020. 

Fig 6: Demand Forecast for Solar PV in Canada – 2009 to 2020 (Source: statista.com)

Related article: Top Solar Statistics You Need to Know in 2019

Closing Words

Currently, in Canada, remote off-grid solar systems are seeing moderate growth. However,  it can be a viable market by bringing about incentives. As of now, the solar market in the country looks more like a small market segment.

If we talk about grid-connected solar PV, there is a long way to go before becoming cost-competitive compared to other renewable energy options. However, micro-grids that are using multiple energy sources, including solar PV offer positive growth options. Particularly, in remote regions, micro-grids can be cost-competitive with current energy supplies.

Related article: Solar Power Statistics in the USA 2019


Solar Power Statistics in the USA 2019


In 2018, the US solar industry achieved the feat of installing 10.6 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV for the third consecutive year, according to a report by Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

 

The Solar Energy Market in the USA

Again in 2018, large-scale PV plants in the US generated 63 billion kilowatt-hours of power, which was 1.5% of total U.S. power generation as confirmed by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA further estimated that smaller systems (mostly rooftop), generated another 30 billion kilowatt-hours.

 

Fig.1: The US Solar Market by PV Installations until 2019 (Source: Wood Mackenzie)

According to Wood Mackenzie, the US is likely to install 3 million solar panels in 2021 and 4 million panels in 2023.

The total number of solar installations in the US is on its way to get more than double in the next 5 years, and it will consolidate the industry and provide economic strength.

Related article: Top Solar Statistics You Need to Know in 2019

 

The Leading US Cities in Solar Energy in 2019 

 

Fig.2: Leading US States by No.of PV Installations (Source: Wood Mackenzie)

The total solar PV installation capacity in the US is likely to go up by 14% in 2019. Subsequently, in 2021, the total yearly installations can reach 15.8 GW.

Among the US states, California was leading in solar installations during the initial years, and it is still one of the major states. Earlier, California made 51% of the first million solar installations, and 43% of the second million.

Now, other states such as Arizona and New York have gained significance due to their growing solar market.

Also, in recent years, Texas and Florida have emerged in the US solar market and added more capacity than some of the highest solar penetration states. These emerging solar markets are going to be instrumental in the growth of the residential solar market in the US.

In 2018, the non-residential solar PV market witnessed a dip of 8% annually because of policy transitions in major markets. Also, utility-scale solar saw a contraction of 7% in the same year, mainly due to Section 201 tariffs.

 

Solar Growth Statistics

A report by the International Business Times shows that the US solar industry is likely to witness huge growth in the next 5 years.

In 2018, in the US, the solar PV capacity increased by 10.6 GW, which was in addition to the previous total of 53.8 GW.

The current total capacity of 64.2 GW can power 12.3 million homes in the US By 2024, and the PV capacity is expected to grow more than double.

 

What are the reasons behind the surge of the solar industry? 

The reasons are below:

 

  • Unlimited
  • Clean
  • The primary potential source to fulfill the growing energy demand
  • Strengthens the electricity system
  • Cost competitive
  • It provides consumers with greater energy control and choice
  • Creates jobs.

 

The Economic Index of the Solar Industry

The surge in the solar industry has significantly boosted the US economy by creating job opportunities. Over 242,000 Americans work in the solar industry, which is more than twice the number in 2012.

In 2018, the solar industry contributed $17 billion as investments in the U.S. economy.

 

Fig. 3: Jobs in the U.S Solar Industry by Sector (Source: Seia.org)

 

Investment Statistics – Corporate Solar Investments Surge in the US

The Solar Energy Industries Association’s Solar Means Business 2018 report shows that more than 7,000 MW capacity has been added across 35,000 projects. The report has fetched data from both on-site and off-site installations.

The report further states that there has been a surge in commercial solar investments in the US. For example, the multinational technology company Apple is currently leading the way in procuring corporate solar energy in the country with almost 400 megawatts (MW) of total solar capacity.

Also, retail brands such as Google, Target, Amazon, and Walmart have made it to the top 10 investors in the Solar Means Business 2018 report.

The reason why an increasing number of top companies are investing in the solar industry is that solar energy is clean and reliable and makes perfect economic sense.

 

Fig. 4: Top 10 Corporate Solar Energy Users in the U.S (Source: seia.org)

 

Solar Manufacturing Statistics

An interesting fact is that most of the solar panels sold in the US are not manufactured in the country in 2019. Still, several companies such as SunPower, First Solar, and Jinko Solar are making solar panels in the US.

Recently, several Asian companies have begun manufacturing solar panels in the US. The entering of these companies into the US market is likely to make the solar market more competitive for indigenous companies.

On January 22, 2018, the current government announced a 30% tariff on solar panels and cells that are imported into the US. This new policy has raised a lot of questions among solar customers. One of the most popular questions has been,Where can I buy solar panels that are made in the US?

Despite the fact that the majority of solar projects in the US use imported solar panels, still, there are quite a few US manufacturers.

Here is a list of solar panel companies that have some or all of their manufacturing units in the US:

List of US Solar Panel Manufacturers (as of 2019)

 

  • Heliene – Mountain Iron, MN
  • Mission Solar – San Antonio, TX
  • Solaria – Fremont, CA (HQ in the US)
  • SolarTech Universal – Riviera Beach, FL
  • SolarWorld Americas – Hillsboro, OR
  • SunSpark – Riverside, CA
  • Silfab Solar – Bellingham, WA
  • Seraphim – Jackson, MS (HQ in the US)
  • Tesla/Panasonic – Buffalo, NY

There are two notable aspects about these listed US solar panel manufacturing companies:

1.Many of these companies assemble all or some of their solar panels in the US. However, they import the key components from other countries, and these components too, fall under the new solar tariff except for the first 2.5 gigawatts (GW) of solar cells imported in a year.

In 2017, for example, the US had installed 12 GW of solar panels, out of which around 2.5 GW was manufactured in the country.

2. All of the companies listed above do not have their headquarters in the US. Some companies, like Heliene, have headquarters in Ontario, Canada. Others, like SolarWorld Americas, is a subsidiary of SolarWorld Innovations GmbH with headquarters in Bonn, Germany. However, these companies have their solar panel manufacturing units in the US.

 

Solar Energy Production Statistics

In the first half of 2018, the production of solar energy increased by 25.4%.

The third quarter of 2018 saw output from solar capacity topped 8% of total US electricity generation. It was 7% during the same period in 2017.

In 2019, the growth trend is poised to continue. There will also be changes such as emerging policies supporting renewable growth and increased investor interest in the energy sector.

Also, the implementation of advanced technologies will increase the value of solar energy to asset owners and customers.

As mentioned earlier, solar energy accounted for the largest percentage increase (25.4%) of all renewable energy sources in 2018.

 

     Fig 5: Annual Solar Energy Production in the US (Source: eia.gov)

 

Tax Credits Statistics

The Solar Investment Tax Credit or ITC has boosted the solar industry in the US by providing stability and growth since it was rolled out in 2006.

During the past decade, the solar industry has grown at an average annual growth rate of 50%.

Before the potential expiration of the ITC in 2006, there was a spike in solar installations. Later the extension given in late 2015 has created stable federal policy around solar energy through 2021.

 

Fig 6: Annual Solar Installations after in the U.S after ITC ( Source: seia.org)

The implementation of the ITC has been quite successful as it has increased installations and lowered the costs of small-scale solar systems.

The ITC offers a 30% tax credit without any upper limit for solar systems on both commercial and residential properties in service between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2016. Since the implementation of ITC in 2006, annual solar installations have increased at a compound annual rate of 76%.

The benefits of implementing the ITC is already showing. It has encouraged companies to develop long-term investments that will make the market competitive and drive technological innovation. It will eventually result in lowered costs for consumers.

ITC, coupled with the US Production Tax Credit (PTC) was rolled out as a federal incentive to provide financial support for developing large-scale renewable energy facilities. The policy was implemented for solar electricity systems that were larger than 150 kW placed between October 22, 2004 and December 31, 2013. Qualified projects received 1.1¢/kWh tax credit during the first 10 years of operation.

 

Soft Costs Statistics

In the US, small commercial and residential solar businesses have the biggest cost-decline opportunity. Soft costs include:

 

  • The cost of installation
  • Labor
  • Inspection
  • Relevant permits
  • Interconnection
  • Customer acquisition
  • Supply chain
  • Other overhead costs such as marketing/sales and administrative costs.

The US Department of Energy has been instrumental in reducing soft costs. Besides, SEIA and the Solar Foundation are working on two programs to bring down local obstacles that come in the way of going solar.

 

Fig. 7: Residential Solar PV System Pricing in the U.S (Source: seia.org)

 

Closing Words

In Q1 of 2019, the US solar market installed 2.7 GWdc of solar PV, which is a record number in any Q1 ever. This growth is expected to continue in the coming months and years.

The Solar panel market, which includes Poly-crystalline, Mono-crystalline, and Thin-film Solar Panel for both commercial and residential usability, will see positive growth.

Solar panels convert solar energy to produce clean and efficient electricity. Due to this reason, commercial demand for solar panels is increasing significantly in the US, and likely to spike further growth of this industry.

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Archived news

lux-research-oled

Solar photovoltaic manufacturers must be starting to breathe again. Over the past few years, they’ve struggled to keep their heads above a tide of overproduction that’s been washing out weaker competitors and strengthening others. Now, a growing body of evidence shows that the tide is changing. Case in point, a new report from Lux Research anticipates that the solar market will recover by 2015 and grow to a $155 billion annual industry by 2018.

The report anticipates that the PV market will start seeing a healthy 10.5 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) by 2018. “In the most likely scenario, the PV market will grow at a modest clip to 35 GW in 2013 before rapidly ramping up to 61.7 GW in 2018.” That’s about double the 31 gigawatts installed in 2012.

“We predict oversupply to end in 2015,” says Lux Research’s Edward Cahill, a research associate with the company and lead author of “Market Size Update 2013: Return to Equilibrium”. He adds, “Manufacturers will still struggle through 2013 and 2014, but 2015 will bring a resurgence in gross margins, which is when they will have money to spend on new equipment and technologies and thus solar’s great recovery.”

The report states, “Record low prices from gross margins reaching near zero or below have made solar installations competitive in more markets. The US, China, Japan, and India will take over where Germany and Italy left off, driving global demand from 31 GW in 2012 to 62 GW in 2018.” The low PV prices also weeding out the uncompetitive manufacturers as consolidation reduces global capacity, it says. “Rising demand and falling capacity will bring the two within 12 percent of each other in 2015, easing price pressure, returning manufacturers to profitability, and returning the industry to equilibrium.”

“Low prices makes solar more competitive in more markets, increasing demand,” Cahill explains. “Low prices also make manufacturers sell near or below 0 percent margins. As these trends continue, demand increases and supply decreases. This will alleviate some prices pressure and enable companies’ gross margins to increase. However, costs are also coming down, meaning prices will likely stay flat while margins increase and costs decrease.”

In creating the report, Cahill and Lux analyzed the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) in 156 geographies, which it says accounts for 82 percent of the world’s population. While PV installations grew from 27 gigawatts in 2011 up 77 percent from the year before, it slunk to a 15 percent growth rate in 2012. The report states, “If demand continues to slow and even slide from subsidy cuts in Europe, overcapacity will continue to erode margins, large manufacturers will fall, and solar could become a niche technology. However, installations and market conditions will improve, resulting in 11 percent CAGR through 2018.”

Silicon PV will remain the dominant form of PV, but thin-film PV may also start to grow again, according to Cahill. Many thin-film companies have failed over the past few years—like Solyndra and Abound Solar—in the face of silicon PV price drops. But, he contends, “Thin-films will survive in their own target markets.”

First Solar’s cadmium telluride is still the cost leader will keep doing well in the utility-scale market and he anticipates that CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) can improve. “If it can accelerate cost reductions as CIGS players predict and improve module efficiency, it will have a play, especially on commercial rooftops where it can be cheaper and high efficiency is not as crucial as for residential rooftops.” He’s not so charitable to amorphous silicon PV. “Amorphous silicon will be a victim of hyper-competition and will not survive in traditional PV markets due to high costs from poor manufacturing yield and module efficiency.”

Original Article on Solar Reviews

greentech media report

Greentech and SEIA’s U.S. Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review had more expected good tidings, including for total U.S. installed solar capacity, which nows stands at 20 gigs and rising. Concentrated photovoltaic also got a moment in the sun, posting its largest ever year with 767 megawatts thanks to the completed projects like Ivanpah, Genesis Solar and Mojave Solar.

But there is also some bad news to deliver, from the usual suspects. “Only natural gas constituted a greater share of new generating capacity,” the report reminded. There is also a global perspective worth considering: In the same year, China added 10.6 more gigawatts, handily beating America with 28 total installed. If America is only as green as its toughest competitor, then it needs to power up its game to level up to Asia.

But wet international blankets aside, 2014 remains “the largest year ever in terms of PV installations,” Greentech and SEIA’s executive summary explained, forecasting that installations will sprint past 8 gigawatts next year, which is 59 percent higher than 2014. “Growth will occur in all segments, but will be most rapid in the residential market.”

Leaping over legislative hurdles will be the next test for that exponential residential market, which is heating up even faster now that U.S. solar titans like First Solar, SunPower and SolarCity are launching yieldcos, solar bonds and other incentives for homeowners to solarize. Last year’s supernova growth in the solar sector was, as the report explained, “driven primarily by the utility solar PV market.” But for the first time ever, it added, “more than half a gigawatt of residential solar installations came on-line without any state incentive in 2014.”

If homeowners and investors can avoid or repeal the various solar taxes and tariffs coming their way from what influence the fossil fuel industry has left, then the residential solar market will only more greatly increase in value and power. I want to read that report.

 

solar is growing fast Signaling the growing importance of solar energy to America’s future, the widely read and cited annual “State of American Energy Report” – released today by the American Petroleum Institute (API) – includes, for the first time ever, a comprehensive section on the rapid growth of the U.S. solar energy industry and its impact on our nation’s economy and environment.

According to the report, which included an assist from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), solar is now the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in America.  “Today, the U.S. has an estimated 20.2 GW of installed solar capacity, enough to effectively power nearly 4 million homes in the United States – or every single home in a state the size of Massachusetts or New Jersey – with another 20 GW in the pipeline for 2015-16.”

The report went on to say, “Solar energy is now more affordable than ever. According to SEIA/GTM Research, national blended average system prices have dropped 53 percent since 2010.  Today, the solar industry employs 143,000 Americans and pumps more than $15 billion a year into the U.S. economy.  This remarkable growth is due, in large part, to smart and effective public policies, such as the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Renewable Energy Standards (RES).”

The impact of solar energy on the environment has been equally impressive.  “Solar helped to offset an estimated 20 million metric tons of harmful CO2 emissions in 2014, which is the equivalent of taking four million cars off U.S. highways, saving 2.1 billion gallons of gasoline or shuttering five coal-fired power plants,” the report stated.  “When looking at America’s energy future, solar can be a real game changer, providing more and more homes, businesses, schools and government entities across the United States with clean, reliable and affordable electricity, while also helping states to meet proposed new obligations under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.”

Most importantly, the report predicted strong, continued growth in all sectors of the U.S. solar industry – residential, commercial, utility-scale and solar heating and cooling – over the next two years.

“The United States is in the midst of a new era in domestic energy abundance characterized by rising use of renewable energy and increased oil and natural gas production that is strengthening our economic outlook and enabling America to emerge as a global energy superpower,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard.  “It’s a remarkable transformation that has been made possible because America is uniquely rich in energy resources, a talented workforce and cutting-edge energy technologies.”

“Solar energy is one of America’s great success stories,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch.  “Last year, solar installations were 70 times higher than they were in 2006 – and today there’s nearly 30 times more solar capacity online nationwide.  We’ve gone from being an $800 million industry in 2006 to a $15 billion industry today. The price to install a solar rooftop system has been cut in half, while utility systems have dropped by 70 percent. It took the U.S. solar industry 40 years to install the first 20 GW of solar.  Now, we’re going to install the next 20 GW in the next two years.  In fact, during every single week of 2015, we’re going to install more capacity than what we did during the entire year in 2006.  Any way you look at it, solar energy is paying huge dividends for the economy, our environment and America’s future.”

Read more on SEIA.org

 

2012 is starting to peak around the corner and people, and companies are starting to make their projections for what the New Year will bring.

Residential third-party ownership company SunRun has stepped forward with its projections for 2012, which include Darwinian industry consolidation, led by increased competition among many sectors of the solar industry. That being said, SunRun is optimistic about its opportunities in 2012.

The company projects that in 2012 solar players will have to evolve, innovate or become irrelevant and fail. That will be led by PV module price drops, which SunRun said could fall up to 20 percent more in 2012—putting even more competitive pressure on manufacturers to lower costs. The potential end of incentives like the 1603 Treasury Grant Program will impact project developers and installers. Both price-drops and the end of incentives will foment industry consolidation, which could cause some painful consolidations but also will illustrate who the industry leaders are.

“Without the grant program consumers lose out because clean energy becomes more expensive and less accessible,” said SunRun spokesperson Susan Wise. “As a market leader we will continue our success without the grant program, but we prefer that it be extended so we can offer the most affordable solar to more homeowners and more middle-class families.”

On the more positive side, SunRun anticipates that advances in streamlining permitting processes and non-PV technologies will also help reduce the cost and barriers to solar installations.

The Department of Energy recently announced winners of its Rooftop Solar Challenge, an effort to streamline solar permitting for homeowners across regions.

“You are likely to see progress in these regions, among others,” Wise said.

New advances in software to support solar will also help reduce costs.

“Companies like SunRun, SolarCity and Sungevity use the Internet and other programs to evaluate the solar potential of a homeowners’ roof,” she said. “We also expect increased use of software to streamline permitting, such as downloading and submitting permits electronically.”

The coming year also is likely to see an increase in homeowners with solar through third-party ownership.

“Solar leasing options could become 75 percent of the California residential solar market in 2012, with other states following suit,” Wise said.

The company could also enter new markets next year, according to Wise.

“New market entries depend on a number of factors including price of electricity in a particular state and the existence of supportive and fostering policies,” she said. “But expansion is the goal.”

But how 2012 will actually shake out and whether 1603 will be extended and other incentive programs remains to be seen.

Original Article on Cleanenergyauthority.com

pv-industry-2012-review

The difficulties that the global solar industry experienced in 2012 were both clear and expected. Continuing excess solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing capacity spurred a collapse in prices across the PV value chain, creating consistently negative margins and negative profitability for upstream PV manufacturers.

This led to a large number of bankruptcies, insolvencies and acquisitions, but also trade wars between the United States and China, the EU and China, and between India and everyone else.

However, as in 2011 these difficulties masked the continued progress in PV markets, policy and technology. Many of Solar Server’s predictions for 2012 played out, including the increasing diversification of global PV markets and the dramatic expansion of a number of emerging markets in 2012.

A difficult year: falling prices

The most fundamental problem of the global PV industry in 2012 was, and continues to be, too much manufacturing capacity for global demand. Exact numbers are hard to come by, given the difficulty in information collection in China, where much of the new capacity is located. However, Greentech Media estimated that in 2012 global PV module manufacturing capacity  reached nearly 60 GW, with global polysilicon, wafer and cell capacity more than 40 GW each.

This represents a module capacity roughly double the estimates of the 2012 PV market. Given that large inventories are still left over from 2011, a continuing collapse in prices was inevitable.

Polysilicon spot prices fell an estimated 47% in 2012
Polysilicon spot prices fell an estimated 47% in 2012

And fall they did, across the PV value chain. In the first 11 months of 2012 crystalline silicon module spot market prices had fallen between 19% and 29%, with Chinese crystalline silicon modules falling to EUR 0.56 (USD 0.74) per watt, according to Sologico. This follows on a price fall between 36% and 46% from January 2011. In just two years, Chinese c-Si modules are being sold for a little more than a third of their previous market value per watt.

Polysilicon spot prices likewise fell an estimated 47% globally in 2012 to a low of USD 15.3/kg, with Xinhua reporting a fall of more than 50% in China, as the second straight year of price collapse. While much polysilicon is sold through long-term contracts, the collapse in polysilicon prices has eroded the contract market, making manufacturers more willing to depend on the spot market.

Wafer and cell manufacturers have reported similar stories. The net result is that the only large PV manufacturers reporting positive operating margins in 2012 are those who have diversified into PV project development.

PV equipment manufacturing revenues fell 72% to USD 3.6 billion in 2012
PV equipment manufacturing revenues fell 72% to USD 3.6 billion in 2012

Perhaps the worst hit are makers of PV manufacturing equipment, who have seen orders collapse over the past six quarters. While some orders continue for upgrades, most expansions have been halted. SEMI’s most recent report found that PV equipment bookings remained flat in the third quarter of 2012 at only USD 234 million, 56% below a year prior, and Solarbuzz reports that global sector revenues fell 72% to USD 3.6 billion over the full year 2012.

Again, diversification has been key, and those players that have survived often have multiple product lines in multiple industries to soften the impact of the collapse in PV equipment demand.

Bankruptcies, insolvencies and acquisitions

The fallout of the collapse in profitability has been a large number of bankruptcies, insolvencies and acquisitions among PV manufacturers. The largest of these was Q-Cells’ insolvency and subsequent sale to Hanwha Chemical Corporation, a major fall from its position as global PV market leader in 2008.

However, Q-Cells was the tip of the iceberg. Mercom Capital has counted 35 solar bankruptcies or insolvencies in 2012, and 50 restructuring or downsizing announcements, including major workforce reductions at SMA and Schott’s departure from crystalline silicon PV manufacturing.

REC closed the last of its wafer production in Norway during 2012 (Image courtesy REC ASA)
REC closed the last of its wafer production in Norway during 2012 (Image courtesy REC ASA)

While much noise was made about the US PV industry, the United States never had a very large scale of PV manufacturing to begin with. Instead, Europe was the hardest hit, particularly silicon wafer production. REC ASA completely shut down its wafer division at three locations in Norway during 2012, with Schott and PV Crystalox closing wafer facilties in Germany.

Chinese manufacturers also spilled considerable red ink during the year, however none of the large Chinese PV companies have failed yet. Instead, Chinese manufacturers have posted worse and worse balance sheets, have received minor bailouts from government entities, and in some cases have sold off portions of their businesses to state-owned enterprises.

Global trade war

The global solar trade war which erupted in 2012 must be seen in light of these extremely difficult conditions. Prompted by a coalition led by SolarWorld, the United States slapped anti-dumping and countervailing duties of 24% – 255% on Chinese-made PV cells, and modules made from those cells. However, these tariffs have been easy to avoid, given the option to outsource cell production and the relatively small size of the US PV market.

The trade investigation before the European Commission has the potential to impact the global PV industry much more than US tariffs (Image courtesy jlogan)
The trade investigation before the European Commission has the potential to impact the global PV industry much more than US tariffs (Image courtesy jlogan)

Much more serious is an EU investigation into imported Chinese PV products, which is currently underway. Meanwhile, China has not sat idly by while all of this has occurred. It has launched an anti-dumping investigation of its own into US and EU polysilicon, from which 30-50% tariffs are expected.

Not to be outdone, India has also responded with anti-dumping investigations into PV products, naming China, Malaysia, Taiwan and the US.

While many in the industry have opposed these trade actions, the extremely difficult positions that US and EU PV manufacturers and Chinese polysilicon producers have found themselves in is undeniable. What is more difficult to establish is the intentional damage alleged by some claimants. In the end, there is simply too much capacity for the market.

The good news: A growing PV market

Despite all of the difficulties which manufacturers are facing, the global PV market continued to grow by 10% – 17% in 2012 to an estimated 31 – 33 GW, with growth even in highly mature PV markets like Germany. The latest figures from the German Ministry of the Environment indicate that despite feed-in tariff cuts, Germany’s 2012 PV market reached 7.6 GW by the end of the year, another world record for annual PV installed.

The Italian market for large commercial and utility-scale PV has been effectively killed by the near-elimination of the feed-in tariff in the fifth Conto Energia, but as this came in August, Italy will still post impressive 2012 installation figures, estimated by Mercom at 3.5 GW.

However, other trends indicate that the big story will not be in Europe anymore.
Asian PV markets rise

In our 2011 year in review, Solar Server noted the passage of feed-in tariffs in China and Japan as among the most important trends in the global solar industry. In 2012, we have not been disappointed.

China installed an estimated 5 GW of PV in 2012, making it the world's second-largest PV market (Image courtesy Astonergy)
China installed an estimated 5 GW of PV in 2012, making it the world’s second-largest PV market (Image courtesy Astonergy)

It is likely that the Chinese PV market more than doubled again this year. While final numbers are not in, IMS Research’s October 2012 prediction of 5 GW installed in 2012 would make China the world’s second-largest PV market. This includes not only installations under the feed-in tariff, but also 1.7 GW of projects under the nation’s Golden Sun Program.

Japan likewise has seen an extraordinary boom in PV installations, driven by what may be the world’s most lucrative feed-in tariff and a need to put generation online to replace shuttered nuclear power plants and reduce costly fossil fuel imports.

Mercom Capital estimates that Japan’s PV market doubled to 2.5 GW in 2012. Also, JPEA found that the nation’s PV cell and module imports increased more than 300% year-over-year in the third quarter of 2012 to 32% of the total market, as Japan’s PV manufacturers struggled to meet this sharp increase in demand.

Ongoing diversification

China and Japan were hardly the only markets that grew dramatically in 2012, as PV technology continued its viral growth across the globe. While both India and the United States showed impressive growth during the year, the growth in other emerging markets in 2012 may indicate a more significant trend over the next decade.

Throughout 2012 there were frequent announcements of utility-scale projects either initiated or completed on six continents, including locations as unlikely as Costa Rica, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Nigeria and Peru.

Of these emerging markets, one that is notable for its size is South Africa. The end of 2012 was filled with a flood of project groundbreakings and supply deals for the 1.45 GW of PV plants which were approved under the first phase of the nation’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Program (REIPP), which aims to install 8.2 GW of PV by 2030.

Other notable regions include Southeastern Europe. While Romania installed only 29 MW, the Greek and Bulgarian markets were much more impressive. A number of large PV plants came online in both nations during 2012, including a 50 MW PV plant built by Astronergy and a 60 MW PV plant built by SunEdison in Bulgaria in 2012.

Chilean Energy Minister Jorge Bunster at the Calama 3 PV plant. While more than 3.1 GW of solar projects have received approval, the nation had only 2.4 MW of utility-scale PV commissioned by the end of 2012. (Image courtesy Chilean Ministry of Energy)
Chilean Energy Minister Jorge Bunster at the Calama 3 PV plant. While more than 3.1 GW of solar projects have received approval, the nation had only 2.4 MW of utility-scale PV commissioned by the end of 2012. (Image courtesy Chilean Ministry of Energy)

Many had higher expectations for Latin America. Chile has built an impressive pipeline of over 3.1 GW of solar projects which have received environmental approval, but the nation reached only 2.4 MW of installed utility-scale PV capacity by year’s end, with another 2.5 MW under construction.

Peru showed greater progress, with four PV plants 20 MW and larger, totaling 84 MW, commissioned during 2012. AES Solar also commissioned a 24 MW PV plant in Puerto Rico, one of several utility-scale projects underway in the island territory.

Also this year two very large projects were announced in sub-Saharan Africa. Blue Energy announced plans to build a 155 MW PV plant in Ghana, and Helios Energy signed an MOU with a state government in Nigeria to build a 30 MW PV plant.

Technology progress: CPV

At 30 MW, the Alamosa Solar plant is much larger than any previous CPV plant (Image courtesy Amonix)
At 30 MW, the Alamosa Solar plant is much larger than any previous CPV plant (Image courtesy Amonix)

As predicted by Solar Server at the beginning of 2012, during the year concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) technology continued its progress into the mainstream. In April, Cogentrix commissioned a 30 MW CPV plant in the US state of Colorado, the Alamosa Solar project. The plant is many times larger than any existing CPV installation, and was featured by Solar Server as our November 2012 Solar Energy System of the Month.

Also, in December 2012 Soitec announced the long-awaited opening of its CPV factory in Southern California, which will supply modules for hundreds of megawatts of plants under contract which are based on its Concentrix technology.

CPV also saw new technical achievements in 2012. In October 2012 Solar Junction announced that it had reached 44% cell efficiency with its multi-junction technology, and in the same month Amonix reported that it had achieved a 33.5% outdoor efficiency with its CPV modules.

CPV still faces many challenges, most notably bankability. However, 2012 saw important progress for CPV, with more growth expected in 2013 as developers begin work on large projects in South Africa and California.

2013 and beyond

Given the fundamental underlying problem of overcapacity, the difficulties faced by the PV industry in 2012 are far from over. Multiple research firms have forecast an ongoing fall in sale prices in 2013, and IHS has made the particularly grim prediction that the number of companies in the PV supply chain will be reduced by 70% over the course of the year.

However, these falling prices have aided market growth, particularly in nations such as the United States, and have benefited developers and installers.

Global PV markets continue to grow and diversify, and with this diversification comes new opportunities, including in those markets which were previously considered closed to outsiders.

NPD Solarbuzz has predicted significant opportunities in the PV balance of systems market in China, and Japanese industry data shows that despite the cultural preference for domestic products in the nation, the share of imported PV is growing rapidly in Japan.

The center of the global solar market is moving towards Asia (Image courtesy Solar Frontier)
The center of the global solar market is moving towards Asia (Image courtesy Solar Frontier)

In other nations, falling prices mean that PV is finally becoming cost-competitive without subsidies, as has been shown by successful “grid-parity” projects underway in Spain. 2013 promises to be another difficult year. However, for the companies that survive, there are excellent  prospects for substantial long-term growth in the PV industry. We can look forward to a new PV market that is both more global and more stable, less prone to strong quarter-to-quarter changes and less dependent upon boom-and-bust cycles in individual nations.

by Solar Server International Correspondent Christian Roselund

 

Original Article on The Solarserver